Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

but little if at all criminal; yet | time in idleness, he should not Paul directed, if any one, who be supported at the expense of had been converted from pagan- the church, or allowed to eat of ism, had been guilty of it, that the provision made by the church he should wholly desist from it, for the support of their poor. and apply himself to labor, that He suggested that he was parhe might, in an honest way, ob- ticular in reminding them of tain what was necessary, not on this, because he heard there ly for his own support, but like- were some who walked among wise, to afford relief to such as them disorderly, working not at stood in need, and by reason of all, but were busybodies--some age or infirmity or other imped- who neglected their proper buiment, were unable to provide siness, and turned aside, like disfor themselves. He said, “ Let orderly persons, from the rule him that stole steal no more : and command which had been but rather let him labor, working given for the regulation of their with his hands the thing which conduct. Their disorderly walk is good, that he may have to consisted in neglecting to work give to him that needeth.” for their support, and, as is comEphes. iv. 28.

mon with idle, lazy persons, in The same apostle, in 2 Thess. being busybodies, going about iii. 8, 9. signified, that he and from house to house, intruding his companions in the ministry into the affairs of others, tattling, had eaten no man's bread for and making remarks tending to nought; but wrought with la- mischief. “ Now(said he) them bor and travail night and day, that are such we command, and that they might not be chargea exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, ble to any of them : not because that with quietness they work, they had not power, or authority and eat their own bread. But and right to demand a comfort- ye, brethren, be not weary in able support from those to whom well-doing. And if any man they ministered ; but they did obey not our word by this episit, to make themselves an exam- tle, note that man, and have no ple to the Thessalonians, to teach company with him, that he may and encourage them to obtain be ashamed.” A more plain and their bread by honest industry. explicit command for Christians He then added, in the following to labor, that they may support verses, “ For even when we themselves by honest industry; were with you, this we com- or clearer evidence that it is the manded you, that if any would will of Christ that they should not work, neither should he eat. do so, and that their refusing is For we hear that there are some very displeasing to him, than which walk among you disor- these words contain, is hardly derly, working not all, but are conceivable. We have then the busybodies.” In these words he most clear and decisive proof, reminded them, that he and his not only, that mankind are alfellow-laborers, when they were lowed to employ the greater part with them, commanded them, of their time in labor ; but also, that if any professed Christian that it is the will and command who was capable of laboring, re- of God that a large proportion fused to work, and spent his

of them should so employ their | God hath so constituted the state time.

of things, with respect to manThis divine command perfect kind in the present life, and laid ly coincides with the constitution such commands upon them, and of mankind, and of the world in made such institutions, to subwhich they are placed.

serve the purposes of his glory lf God had judged it wise and and their welfare, both here and best, he could have so formed hereafter, as plainly show, that our nature, that we should not some are to spend the principal have needed material food and part of their time in such occuraiment for our subsistence and pations and callings as preclude comfort : : or whilst our nature is manual labor, at least in a great such as to render these necessa- measure. As instances of this, ry, he could, had he seen fit, I might mention those civil rulhave so constituted the world, in ers, whose time must be mostly which he hath fixed our resi- or wholly employed in discharg. dence, as to furnish us with eve-ing the duties of their office ; and ry necessary for our support, some instructors of youth; and comfort and convenience, with-gospel-ministers, at least some out any labor or toil on our part. of them. These, of course, But God, all whose works are must be provided for by the lathe result of perfect wisdom and bor of others. But no man, be goodness, has so formed our na- his rank or station what it will, ture and constitution, and the may warrantably spend his time world in which he hath placed in idleness ; but every one is us, that food, and raiment, and bound to a diligent improvement houses are necessary to our sub- of his time and talents in subsersistence and comfort, and that viency to the glory of God, and these cannot be obtained, in a to his own and others' good, in degree sufficient for our support such ways or employments as and comfort, without our own correspond to his proper calling, exertions. Yea, such is the state or state and circumstances in the of things and the situation of the world. larger part of mankind, that in- Perhaps God hath so constitudustry and economy, and perse- ted our nature, and the world in vering diligence in some kind of which he hath placed us, that la. labor, are indispensably necessa- bor should be necessary for our ry to obtain the itquisites of a support and comfort, and accorcomfortable subsistence. dingly required it of us, to teach

This constitution of things, in- us the important lesson, That dependent of the express com- all our capacities, powers and mand of God, plainly argues it faculties ought, in imitation of to be his will, that men should his benevolence, to be employed labor for their support. It may in doing good ; and that true however be proper to observe, enjoyment and real happiness that whilst it is necessary that consist in and result from the the greater part should employ proper exercise of our faculties a large proportion of their time upon suitable objects, in opposiin labor, working with their tion to an indolent inactivity : hands in cultivating the earth, and also, because the active naor in some other useful business, Iture of man, if he was under no

necessity of laboring for his owning, is doing it freely and of support, and had no employment choice, because God requiresitassigned him by God, would ex- doing it out of obedience to his pose him to fall into courses, will, in the exercise of a free, which might be hurtful to him- cheerful subjection to his auself, and to his fellow-creatures. thority. “ Fear God and keep

From the whole that hath now his commandments : for this is been said, and sufficiently sup- the whole duty of man." Eccl. ported by the scriptures, it may xii. 13. A proper regard for clearly appear, that a large ma- God in the heart, expressed by jority of the human race are a willing, unreserved obedience not to blamie merely because to all his commandments, is the they employ the greater part of whole duty of man.

No one their time in working with their performs his duty in laboring to hands, to obtain the things ne- raise, procure, or furnish, such cessary for the support and com- things as are requisite for the fort of mankind in the present support and comfort of mankind life. This, in itself, is so far in the present life, any further from being wrong or improper, than he acts therein from a prothat it is rendered necessary by per regard to God, and doeth it the divine constitution of our freely and cheerfully in complinature and of the world in which ance with his will-in obedience we are placed, and accordingly to his command. If a man perenjoined by a divine command. forms all the work, which God Therefore, if the generality of requires to be performed by him, laboring people commit sin by a but in doing it has no respect diligent improvement of their for God, no regard to his will time and exertion of their and authority, and doth not strength, in laboring to obtain mean it as an act of obedience to or furnish such things as are ne- his command, but acts entirely cessary for the support and com- from other motives, and merely fort of mankind, it is not be for his own selfish ends; it is cause employing a large part of plain that he, considered as a their time in laboring for such voluntary designing agent, canthings is in its own nature not be said to render the least wrong, or sinful, or forbidden by degree of obedience to the will God, but on account of their and command of God in all the wrong views, motives and ends labor which he performs, and therein. Hence,

therefore, that he doth not disWith what views and motives charge the duty of laboring enand for what ends men ought to joined by God. For although labor, working with their hands; he doeth the things which God and when, in laboring and pro- requires to be done, yet as secuting their worldly business obeying the will of God, or they may be said to do their du- keeping his commandments in ty and obey the will of God ; is doing them, he meaneth not so,

very important and interest. neither doth his heart think so; ing enquiry. In answer to this but it is in his heart to answer enquiry, it may be observed, his own selfish ends; independ

1. One thing essential to the ent of any regard to the authori. discharge of our duty in labor- ty, will, or glory of God. Vol. VI. NO. 11.

Dod

[ocr errors]

a

2

may have

When God put Adam in the that we should do it from such garden of Eden to dress it and to motives, and for such ends, as keep it, if he had preserved his are agreeable to the revealed original rectitude, and perse- will of God. This indeed is imvered in perfect love and obedi- plied in laboring from a regard ence, he would have performed to God, and in obedience to his the business intended by dress- will ; yet a distinct illustration ing and keeping the garden, out of it may be useful. If in workof respect to God, from a regard ing with our hands, and transto his authority, and in obedience acting our worldly business, we to his revealed will ; and so do- act from other motives and for ing, would have performed this other ends, than such as are branch of his duty.

agreeable to the revealed will of When in consequence of God, and especially, such as are man's disobedience, the ground contrary to it, it is plain that in was cursed for his sake, and the so doing, instead of obeying, we tillage of it rendered hard and really disobey the will of God, difficult, and the will of God however punctually we may plainly revealed that man should perform such things as in themnow obtain his bread by hard selves considered are proper to and wearisome labor, he ought be done, and even commanded to have willingly submitted to by God. For instance, if God all the fatiguing labor which commands us to labor, working had become requisite, not mere- with our hands the thing which ly as a matter of necessity for is good, that we his own subsistence; but also, wherewith to support ourselves, from a regard and out of obedi. without stealing from or being ence to the will of God, in the burdensome to others, and also exercise of a free, willing sub- to relieve the wants of such as jection to and compliance with stand in need, and we perform his appointment. And so ought the work proper to be done, the posterity of Adam through but in performing it have no all succeeding ages, as long as view to the ends for which God this constitution of things con- requires us to labor, but do it tinues. But however diligent with the chief or sole view to oband industrious any are, yet if tain the means of defraying the their chief end is to obtain the expense of a drunken frolic, or means of subsistence, whilst a re- an obscene debauch, we are so gard to the divine will doth not far from obeying, that we realcome into the

account with ly disobey and rebel against them if they are impelled to God, by laboring from this mowork by a conviction or feeling tive and with this view. We of its indispensable necessity for discharge our duty, and really their subsistence, and not of obey the divine command in lachoice, out of obedience to the boring no further than we do it. will of God, they neither obey with such views and motives, his will, nor perform their duty, and for such ends, as are agreeby all their diligence and weari. able to the revealed will of some labors.

God. 2. It is essential to the dis- Our own comfortable support charge of our duty in laboring, I is not excluded from, but com

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

US

[ocr errors][merged small]

prised in the objects or ends for without defrauding others, or
which we ought to labor. But being'unnecessarily burdensome
in this, as in all other things, to them. This implies the ex-
we should have a supreme and ercise of justice and benevo-
ultimate view to the glory of lence to our neighbors.
God. It is written, “ Whether Another thing is, seeking to
ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever obtain a sufficiency to contribute
ye do, do all to the glory of something to those who stand
God. 1 Cor. x. 31.

in need, and to whose relief, As the sum of what the di support, or comfort, God revine law requires, and of what quires us to contribute as the the gospel is designed and cal- poor, and persons in such emculated to bring us to, as mat- ployments as prevent their later of duty to be performed by boring ; and also, to provide

is to love God with all for the convenient attendance on our heart, and our neighbors as the public worship of God, for ourselves ; so it is the revealed the propagation of the gospel, will or command of God, that and for all those purposes wherein all our conduct we should by the Redeemer's kingdom and have a supreme and ultimate the real welfare of mankind may view to his glory in connection be promoted, and thus to imia with oui

own and other's real tate the divine beneficence, and good. Therefore, to labor from to act in concert with God, as such views and motives and for subordinate agents under his disuch ends as are agreeable to rection and control, or instruhis revealed will, we must do it ments in his hand, in doing with a view to contribute, in the good and diffusing happiness. ways of God's appointment, to Were we heartily disposed to his glory and our own and oth- labor and do all our own work, er's real benefit, and to obtain with the views, motives and ends the good things of this world, now briefly suggested, it is easy that with them we may do good to see, that working with our in all the ways, in which world- hands through the week, instead ly substance may be improved of diverting our thoughts and for the glory of God and the returning our hearts away from al benefit of mankind. One God, might rather serve to fix thing implied in such a conduct, them upon him. If we consci. is willingly laboring for our own entiously went to our daily laand one another's support, with bor, as a part of the service a desire and view to give to which God requires of us in the God the glory due to his name, present life, with an habitual disby exercising and expressing a position and sincere desire to free, cheerful compliance with glorify him, by exercising and his will, as manifested in the expressing a becoming regard 'constitution of our nature and of to his will and submission to his the world, and subjection to his authority and obedience to his authority and obedience to his commands, and sought to obcommand, as expressed in his tain the good things of this word. Another thing implied, world for the ends and purposes is laboring to obtain the neces- which have been mentioned, saries of a comfortable support I would it not be easy and natural

« VorigeDoorgaan »