« VorigeDoorgaan »
strictly regulate all the faculties of the soul and members of the body; checking our inclinations, curbing our appetites, and composing our passions, &c.
In the discharge of this service how many difficulties are there to be surmounted ! bow many obstacles to be removed ! how many oppositions to be encountered ! how many enemies to be vanquished, and hardships to be endured !
Our calling therefore requires great industry; and hence the precepts importing the general tenor of Christian practice are usually couched in terms implying great sedulity and contention of soul : instances given.
Such is the work; which is moreover most worthy to employ us, and possesses the most alluring encouragements for our industry therein.
In recompense thereof we shall assuredly gain even here the special favor and love of God, with his constant protection and care for our good; we shall thereby taste the satisfaction of a calm mind and sound conscience; and hereafter receive from God's bountiful hand an unconceivable affluence of good things, a crown of incorruptible glory. Incentives to this business from holy Scripture. Observations on the melancholy state of those who throw away their labor on things of small or no profit; who toil in the pursuit of sin, and the service of Satan.
II. The business of our particular calling; that in reference to which St. Paul prescribes, Every man as the Lord hath called him, so let him walk, &c. Every man is a member of a double body; of the civil commonwealth, and of the Christian church : in relation to the latter, (and what is said may by parity of reason be referred to the former,) it is declared that God hath set the members every one in the body, as it pleaseth him: and as it is in the natural, so it is in every political and spiritual body; every member bath its proper use and function; every man is endowed with abilities to discharge some
function useful to the common good, or at least needful to his own sustenance; to every one some talent is committed, which he may improve to the benefit of the world, God's temporal, or of the church, God's spiritual kingdom. This subject continued to the end.
OF INDUSTRY IN OUR GENERAL CALLING,
ROMANS, CHAP. XII.-VERSE 11.
Not slothful in business.
INDUSTRY is a very eminent virtue, being an ingredient, or the parent, of all other virtues, of constant use on all occasions, and having influence on all our affairs.
For it is in our nature framed; all our powers of soul and body being fitted for it, tending to it, requiring it for their preservation and perfection,
We were designed for it in our first happy state; and on our lapse thence were farther doomed to it, as the sole remedy of our needs and the inconveniences to which we became exposed. For,
Without it we cannot well sustain or secure our life in the enjoyment of any comfort or convenience; we must work to earn our food, our clothing, our shelter; and to supply every indigency of accommodations which our nature doth crave.
To it God hath annexed the best and most desirable rewards; success to our undertakings, wealth, honor, wisdom, virtue, salvation ; all which, as they flow from God's bounty, and depend on his blessing; so from them they are usually conveyed to us through our industry, as the ordinary channel and instrument of attaining them.
It is requisite to us, even for procuring ease, and preventing a necessity of immoderate labor.
It is in itself sweet and satisfactory: as freeing our mind from distraction, and wrecking irresolution ; as feeding us with good hope, and yielding a foretaste of its good fruits.
It furnisheth us with courage to attempt, and resolution to achieve things needful, worthy of us, and profitable to us.
It is attended with a good conscience, and cheerful reflexions, of having well spent our time, and employed our talents to good advantage.
It sweeteneth our enjoyments, and seasoneth our attainments with a delightful relish.
It is the guard of innocence, and barreth out temptations to vice, to wantonness, to vain curiosity, and pragmaticalness.
It argueth an ingenuous and generous disposition of soul ; aspiring to worthy things, and pursuing them in the fairest way; disdaining to enjoy the common benefits, or the fruits of other men's labor, without deserving them from the world, and requiting it for them.
It is necessary for every condition and station, for every calling, for every relation ; no man without it being able to deport himself well in any state, to manage any business, to discharge any sort of duty.
To it the world is indebted for all the culture, which advanceth it above rude and sordid barbarism; for whatever in common life is stately, or comely, or useful, industry hath contrived it, industry hath composed and framed it.
It is recommended to us by all sort of patterns considerable ; for all nature is continually busy and active in tendency toward its proper designs; heaven and earth do work in incessant motion; every living creature is employed in progging for its sustenance; the blessed spirits are always on the wing in dispatching the commands of God, and ministering succor to us; God himself is ever watchful, and ever busy in preserving the world, and providing for the needs of every creature.
The lives of our blessed Saviour, of all the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the saints, in this respect have been more exemplary; no virtue being more conspicuous in their practice than industry in performing the hard duties and painful tasks imposed on them for the service of God, and the benefit of mankind.
Such is the virtue on which I have formerly discoursed in general and at large ; but shall now more specially consider, according to St. Paul's prescription, in reference to its most proper matter, business,' explaining and pressing it accordingly.
Be not slothful in business,' (that is, in discharge of it,) or to business,' (that is, to undertake it :) this is the rule; the nature and needfulness wbereof we shall declare.
By orovdn, · business,' we may understand any object of our care and endeavors which doth require them, and may deserve them; which by reason of its difficulty cannot well be accomplished or attained without them; and which is productive of some fruit or recompense answerable to them; the which hath operæ causam, a need of labor, and operæ pretium, some effect worth our pains : if it be not such, it is not a due matter of virtuous and laudable industry.
There are many things, about which men with great earnestness employ themselves, called business, but not deserving that name : there are divers spurious kinds of industry, which may not pretend to commendation, but rather do merit blame ; according to that of St. Chrysostom, ‘Labor which bath no profit, cannot obtain any praise."
There is a κενοσπονδία, a vain industry, and a κακoσπoυδία, και naughty industry, both agreeing with genuine virtuous industry in the act, as implying careful and painful activity, but discording from it in object and design; and consequently in worth and moral esteem.
Aliud agere, to be impertinently busy, doing that which conduceth to no good purpose, is in some respect worse than to do nothing, or to forbear all action ; for it is a positive abuse of our faculties, and trifling with God's gifts; it is a throwing away labor and care, things valuable in themselves; it is often a running out of the way, which is worse than standing still; it is a debasing our reason, and declining from our manhood, nothing being more foolish or childish, than to be solicitous and serious about trifles : for who are more busy and active than children ? who are fuller of thoughts and designs, or more eager