[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


So when temptations flatter our corrupt nature, our victory confifts in flight; when they difcou- How to be rage us with difficulties and dangers, we must look them in the face, and encounter them with resolution and courage: A caution, without which the beft difpofitions of mind will hardly preferve us from falling a prey to the enemy. Moreover, watchfulness prepares us to encounter dangers, by putting on the whole armour of God, and fortifying thofe weak places, in which we are most likely to be tempted. They that will not facrifice confcience to establish their fortune, must have upon their minds a strong belief of a future state; where virtue will prevail more than riches and honour, and worldly grandeur. They that would not be overcome by the pleasures of fenfe, should live under a lively hope of enjoying those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. They that gird themselves with truth, can never be prevailed upon to perjure themselves, and to be infincere in their words and promises, but will be firm and fteady in all their tranfactions. We should guard our minds with righteoufnefs, and keep a confcience void of offence. For they that expect to overcome the perfecutions and fufferings they are expofed toupon the account of our faith, muft fence their minds with righteousness, and keep a confcience void of offence. And they that put on the fword of the Spirit, and encounter temptations with thofe powerful motives, which the word of God offers to engage our obedience, will find temptations have loft their force and appear defpifeable. Therefore the neceffity of this duty is vifible from the nature of our condition in this world, which is furrounded with variety of temptations: so that there is no circumstance of life which is entirely free from fome fort of affault or other; all our ways being strewed with snares, from the power and strength of the adverfary, who is prince of the air, and wants neither skill nor industry to work our ruin; from our own frailty and weakness, whereby we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; and from the danger of our overthrow, whereby we become liable to the miferies of a fad eternity in a place of torment.

The confideration of our own weakness and Our duty frailty, is an argument to promote our watchful- and intereft.

D d


nefs, not to mention the fickleness, the treachery and deceitfulness of our hearts, and the malice of the devil, who is very inveterate, and his malice will make him diligent to watch all advantages against us; and his great defign will be to shake our refolution: for if that ftand, he knows his kingdom will fall: and therefore he raiseth all his batteries against it, and labours by all means to undermine this fort. He therefore that expects God's grace and affiftance to keep him ftedfaft to his refolution, must not neglect himself, but keep his heart with all diligence, and watch carefully over himself: because God worketh in us both to will and to do, therefore he expects that we should work out our falvation with fear and trembling, left by our own careleffness and neglect we should mifcarry, by which we become liable to the miseries of a doleful eternity. Whence it follows,


VIII. An idle courfe of life is attended with unfpeakable mischiefs and inconveniencies; and la bour and industry being of God's own appointment, are bleffed by him with the greatest of bleffings. That man was or dained by God to labour and employment, may from his natural frame and ftructure, from appear his faculties and powers both of his mind and body, which are admirably fitted and contrived for that purpose, and from the neceffities of life, as they are at prefent ordered by providence; nay, it appears from the condition man was in at his very first creation, whilft he continued in a state of innocence and purity; even then God put him into the garden, which he had planted, not only to enjoy the pleasures of it, but to keep it and dress it. And

There are labours of feveral kinds; fome exercife the mind, others the body, and fome both. Every perfon that does good to the state of which he is a member, by a faithful adminiftration, or by a diligent discharge of his duty in any office he bears, or any place of truft that he is called to; whoever is ferviceable to others, in affifting them with good counsel in doubtful and difficult cafes, relating to their fouls, bodies or estates whoever is taken up in inftructing the ignorant, or in any o ther fuch matters, which requires the pains of the mind; is fo far from being idle, or deferving to be reputed fo, or to be


Displeasing to God.

looked upon as unworthy of a livelihood, that as his labour is really the most difficult, so it is most useful and profitable to COR all, as may evidently appear from this reafoning on the contratory part.


Whence proceeds fo great an increase of the poor of this kingdom? To what are their miseries owing, but to floth and idleness? To the neglect of parents, who took no care to educate them when they were young, in learning or labour, in fome honest way of trade or business, in which they might employ themselves, when they are grown up, and be able to provide an honest maintenance. So that being grown up, they become what they really are, the very bane and peft of fociety, wafting and devouring the fruits of the diligent man's labours, robbing thofe, who are poor indeed, of the charity which is their due *, and which would otherwise be afforded them, and all the while doing no fort of service to God, their prince or country; but what is still worfe, fpending the time which lies upon their hands, in the most profligate courfes of lying, fwearing, and drinking, in committing fometimes the moft deteftable crimes of theft, whoredom, and murder; for how fhould it be otherwise, but that men, who live without fear of laws, or fenfe of fhame, must use the leisure and opportunity they have, in contriving or practifing all kinds of wickedness and fins?


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Brings po

verty, &c.

This should be a warning to all parents, and to fuch as are intrusted with the care and government of youth, that they improve their minds with found principles of religion and good morality, and bring them up to learning, or, in fome honeft trade and employment,that when they are grown up they may be able by their own skill and induftry to provide a competent maintenance for themselves, and to afford fome fupply and relief to the real wants and unavoidable neceflities of their

neighbours. And now fuppofe a man were born Is the root of
to, or has by his industry obtained, fo plentiful anal evil.
eftate, that if he should take his cafe, or indulge
himself in sloth and luxury, there would be no danger of his
falling into poverty; yet in all probability he would thereby

See the title charity to the poor, page 365.
Dd 2


[ocr errors]

render his condition as unhappy as that of the meaneft beg. gar; he would lofe even the taste and pleasure of worldly things, by a too frequent ufe of them, and would most certainly endanger his health by an idle way of living; for it is known by experience, that ease and fleep, and want of exercise, are the chief causes of moft bodily distempers.

It is the gift of God for a man to eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour; fuch a one reaps the fruit of his pains and industry with a quiet confcience, a pleasure which the cheat and oppreffor are unacquainted with: he is free from contention, from vexations, fuits and difturbances; the envy and ambition of others can have no defigns, nor take advantage against him, who poffeffeth no more than what he labours for; he is no man's flave or dependant; he is under no temp. tation to flattery or mean compliances; he need not cringe nor fneak to the wealthy for his bread, who can live upon his own, and is able in fome measure to relieve others; and what is the greatest bleffing, his continual employment keeps him out of the way of those numerous temptations and occafions of fin, to which idle perfons are always expofed.


Yet of all forts of idlenefs, that of artificers or Its danger to all fervants labourers is certainly the moft blameable, who loiand tradef- ter away that time for which they receive wages; this is a downright cheat upon those whofe bufiness they have undertaken, it is robbing them of their money, and may prove more injurious than common robbery, if the affairs they are intrufted with should mifcarry thro' their careleffness. God, who will not fuffer the labouring man to be defrauded of his hire, but declares that the cry of fuch injustice afcends up to him for vengeance, does as much abhor any fraud that is committed on the labourers part; the apoftle therefore commands chriftians, that no man go beyond or defraud his brother in any matter: and furely all eye-fervants, all who receive wages for their time, if they fquander it away in idleness, are guilty of the greatest fraud; but let them confider what the apoftle there adds, the Lord is their avenger. Befides, the comfort of a good confcience, which is of all others the greatest happinefs, the honeft and industrious labourer may en

God bleffes

the induftri-

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

tirely depend upon the goodness of God, that he will always take care of him; God will blefs and profper him in the work of his hands, and whenever his strength faileth him, through fickness, old age, or misfortunes, let him not doubt but he fhall be provided for in fuch a manner as shall be beft for him; God will stir up the hearts of good men to affift and relieve him, which they will be the more ready to do, remembering how diligent and industrious he had been in the time of his health and strength, and how faithful to those by whom he had been employed.

The most valuable talent we are intrusted with is

How to

fpend aur

time,which was never defigned to be spent in drow-
finefs, or in ill company, in gaming or revelling, or time.
fuch diverfions, as young men wafte it in, with-
out any ferious thoughts on the end of their creation. Where-
fore the mischiefs which happen to our bodies or eftates are
not to be compared with thofe evils which idleness brings up-
on the foul, and where it is indulged, the devilfoon enters and
plants all manner of wickedness, as appears from the parable,
whilft men flept, the enemy came and fowed his tares, Mat,
xiii. 25.


I. Of Zeal, II. Of Chastity and Debauchery. III. How to overcome unchafte Temptations, filthy Thoughts, Words and Looks. IV. How to preferve Chaftity. V. Of Temperance in Meat and Drink. VI. Of Intemperance, it admits of no Excufe. VII. How to be overcome. VIII. Of the Ufe of Time. IX. Of Modefty in Apparel. X. Of Excess in Apparel. XI. Of Dress or putting on of Apparel.

EA L is an earnest concern for or against Zeal.
fomething, and a close pursuit of ; and


1.2 10


is in its own nature indifferent, like the rest of the paffions,

Dd 3

« VorigeDoorgaan »