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DISCOURSE V.

PART I.

EPHESIANS iv. 28.

Let him that stole, steal no more ; but ratber

let him labour, working with his Hands the Thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

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make

up a complete Sense, T

without depending upon what

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They contain a Confirmation and Explication of the eighth Commandment: For what the Apostle enjoins concerning Labour, and working with our Hands, is no more than the necessary

Consequence

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This Consideration will likewise reach the Cafe of wiser Men : You must not despise your weak Brother. Charity obliges you to be civil and courteous to him ; and when a Man of Understanding is joined in Society with a weak Man, the Discourse must be according to the meanest Capacity; and it is sometimes a Piece of Charity to submit to the Conversation of Men of much less Ability than yourself.

From all these Confiderations together then it appears, that the Conversation of the World, upon common and trivial Subjects, is not blame-worthy. It is a Diversion in which we must not spend too much Time ; if we offend in this Respect, we shall be answerable for the Neglect of weightier Matters; but otherwise, if we tranfgress not the Bounds of Innocence and Virtue, we trust in Christ that our harmless, though weak and unprofitable Words, shall not rise up in Judgment against us.

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EPHESIANS iv. 28. Let him that stole, steal no more ; but rather

let him labour, working with his Hands the Thing which is good, that be may

bave to give to him that needeth.

#HE Words now read to you make

up a complete Sense, T

without depending upon what

goes before, or comes after. R2 SR*

They contain a Confirmation and Explication of the eighth Commandment: For what the Apostle enjoins concerning Labour, and working with our Hands, is no more than the necessary

Consequence

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Consequence of the Command, Thou shalt not steal. For since all Men are equal Sharers in the Wants and Neceffities of Life, and the Things which should fupply these Wants are unequally divided, so that some have more than enough, and some much less ; it follows, that the Necessities of the one must be supplied from the Abundance of the other. Steal

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must not, and give perhaps he will not. The only Way then by which you can come at the Things you want, is by Purchase or Exchange; and the only Thing a poor Man has to exchange, is the Work and Labour of his Hands : And therefore it follows as a Consequence of the Law, that since you must not steal, you must work, and purchase by your Labour and Industry the Things which are necessary for your Support and Subsistence. In all that rich Men do, they want the Help and Assistance of the Poor ; they cannot minister to themselves either in the Wants, or Conveniencies, or Pleasures of Life : So that the poor Man has as many Ways to maintain himself, as the rich Man has Wants or Deiires ; for the Wants and Desires of the Rich must be served by the Labour of the Poor. But

then

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then the rich Man has often very wicked Desires, and often delights in sinful Pleasures; and though to serve the Rich be the

poor Man's Maintenance, yet in these Cases the poor Man must not serve him; and therefore the Apostle adds, that he must labour, working with his Hands the Thing which is good. His Poverty obliges him to serve Man, and therefore he must work with his Hands; and his Reason and Religion oblige him to serve God, and therefore he must work only the Thing which is good.

Labour is the Business and Employment of the Poor, it is the Work which God has given him to do; and therefore a Man cannot be satisfied in working merely as far as the Wants of Nature oblige him, and spending the rest of his Time idly or wantonly: For if God has enabled him to gain more by his Labour, than his own Wants, and the Conveniencies necessary to his Station, require, he then becomes a Debtor to such Duties, as are incumbent on all to whoin God hath dispensed his Gifts liberally. He must consider that he owes a Tribute to his Maker for the Health and Strength he enjoys; that there are others who want Limbs to labour, or Sense and Understanding

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