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governors settling good order, to the industry of its people following profitable occupations : so did Cato, in that notable oration of his in Sallust,* tell the Roman senate that it was not by the force of their arms, but by the industry of their ancestors, that commonwealth did arise to such a pitch of great
When sloth creepeth in, then all things corrupt and decay; then the public state doth sink into disorder, penury, and a disgraceful condition.
12. Industry is commended to us by all sorts of examples, deserving our regard and imitation. All nature is a copy thereof, and the whole world a glass, wherein we may behold this duty represented to us.
We may easily observe every creature about us incessantly working toward the end for which it was designed, indefatigably exercising the powers with which it is indued, diligently observing the laws of its creation. Even beings void of reason, of sense, of life itself, do suggest unto us resemblances of industry : they being set in continual action toward the effecting reasonable purposes, conducing to the preservation of their own beings, or to the furtherance of common good.
The heavens do roll about with unwearied motion; the sun and stars do perpetually dart their influences ; the earth is ever laboring in the birth and nourishment of plants; the plants are drawing sap, and sprouting out fruits and seeds, to feed us and propagate themselves; the rivers are running, the seas are tossing, the winds are blustering, to keep the elements sweet in which we live.
Solomon sendeth us to the ant, and biddeth us to consider her ways,' which provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.' Many such instructors we may find in nature ; the like industrious providence we may observe in every living creature ; we may see this running about, that swimming, another flying in purveyance of its food and support.
If we look up higher to rational and intelligent natures, still - more noble and apposite patterns do object themselves to us.
Here below every field, every shop, every street, the hall,
• Cat. apud Sallust. in bello Catil.
the exchange, the court itself (all full of business, and fraught with the fruits of industry) do mind us how necessary industry is to us.
If we consult history, we shall there find that the best men have been most industrious: that all great persons, renowned for heroical goodness, (the worthy patriarchs, the holy prophets, the blessed Apostles,) were for this most commendable; that neglecting their private ease, they did undertake difficult enterprises, they did undergo painful labors for the benefit of mankind; they did pass their days, like St. Paul, év KÓFOLs kai póx@ous, in labors and toilsome pains, for those purposes.
Our great example, the life of our blessed Lord himself, what was it but one continual exercise of labor ? His mind did ever stand bent in careful attention, studying to do good. His body was ever moving in wearisome travel to the same divine intent.
If we yet soar farther in our meditation to the superior regions, we shall there find the blessed inhabitants of heaven, the courtiers and ministers of God, very busy and active; they do vigilantly wait on God's throne in readiness to receive and to dispatch his commands ; they are ever on the wing, and fly about like lightning to do his pleasure.' They are attentive
to our needs, and ever ready to protect, to assist, to relieve rus! Especially they are diligent guardians and succorers of good men; 'officious spirits, sent forth to minister for the heirs of salvation :' so even the seat of perfect rest is no place of idleness.
'Yea, God himself, although immovably and infinitely happy, is yet immensely careful, and everlastingly busy: he rested once from that great work of creation ; but yet, · My Father,' saith our Lord, ' worketh still;' and he never will rest from his works of providence and of grace. His eyes continue watchful over the world, and bis hands stretched out in upholding it. He hath a singular regard to every creaturc, supplying the needs of each, and 'satisfying the desires of all.'
And shall we alone be idle, while all things are so busy? Shall we keep our hands in our bosom, or stretch ourselves on our beds of laziness, while all the world about us is hard at work in pursuing the designs of its creation ? Shall we be wanting to ourselves, while so many things labor for our benefit? Shall not such a cloud of examples stir us to some industry ? Not to comply with so universal a practice, to cross all the world, to disagree with every creature, is it not very monstrous and extravagant ?
I should close all this discourse with that, at which, in pitching on this subject, I chiefly did aim, an application exhortatory to ourselves, urging the practice of this virtue by considerations peculiar to us as scholars, and derived from the nature of our calling. But the doing this requiring a larger discourse than the time now will allow, I shall reserve to another occasion; adding only one consideration more.
13. Lastly, if we consider, we shall find the root and source of all the inconveniences, the mischiefs, the wants of which we are so apt to complain, to be our sloth ; and that there is hardly any of them, wbich commonly we might not easily prevent or remove by industry. Why is any man a beggar, why contemptible, why ignorant, why vicious, why miserable ? Why, but for this one reason, because he is slothful ; because he will not labor to rid himself of those evils ? What could we want, if we would but take the pains to seek it, either by our industry or by our devotion ? For where the first will not do, the second cannot fail to procure any good thing from him, who giveth to all men liberally,' and hath promised to supply the defect of our ability by his free bounty ; so that if we join these two industries (industrious action, and industrious prayer) there is nothing in the world so good or so great, of which, if we are capable, we may not assuredly become masters : and even for industry itself, especially in the performance of all our duties toward God, let us industriously pray : even so, • The God of peace sanctify us wholly, and make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in his sight; through our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom for ever be all glory and praise.' Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON LII.
ROMANS, CHAP. XII.-VERSE 11.
The excellency of industry as a virtue, the manner in which we were designed for it—the rewards annexed to itits necessity for every condition and vocation of life—the advantages which it has produced in the cultivation of the world—the patterns by which it is recommended to these articles as set forth in the preceding discourse briefly recapitulated. It is now specially considered, 'in reference to its more proper matter, business, according to St. Paul's prescription.
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 necessity of it is to be explained.
By business, we may understand any object of our care and endeavors, which requires and deserves them; which by reason of its difficulty cannot well be accomplished without them, and which is productive of some fruit or recompense answerable to them: instances quoted of many things, about which men earnestly employ themselves, but which do not merit the name of industry. Also there is an industry still worse, when men are busy in devising mischiefs; an industry of which the Devil affords a great instance, and like him his wicked brood. These two sorts, of vain and of bad industry, seem alluded to by the prophet, (Isaiah lix. 5.) They hatch cockatrice' eggs and weave the spider's web. How assiduously intent may we observe men to be at sports, and games, and wanton play!
How in such cases do they forget what they are doing ! that sport should not be work! how laborious are others in hewing them out cisterns that will hold no water, that is, in immoderate pursuit of worldly things ! how many vigilant pursuers are there of sensuality and riotous excess ! how shamefully busy some are in accomplishing designs of malice and revenge, in sowing strife and faction in the world ! &c. Such labors are unworthy of men; much more of Christians, who have so glorious a calling.
The proper matter of their industry is true business, or that which is incumbent on a man to do, as required by God, or by the dictates of reason, as conducive to some good purpose.
But our business, according to the Apostle's intent, may be supposed especially to be the work of our calling, to which each man has a peculiar obligation, and which is therefore more properly his business. Now this business, our calling, is double; our general calling, common to us all as Christians; and our particular calling, either in the church or state : in both of which we are obliged to be industrious.
I. As to our general, sublime, and holy calling, it deserves our utmost diligence : all sloth is inconsistent with discharging the duties, enjoying the hopes, and obtaining the benefits thereof. For it is a state of continual work, and is expressed in terms implying abundant, incessant care and pains : we have a soul to save, and a mind to improve with virtue and wisdom; as Christians we are assumed to be servants of God, re-admitted into his family; also servants of Christ our Redeemer, who hath purchased us with his blood : and this service requires of us assiduous attention on works of piety; it demands from us a continual labor of charity ; it obliges us to pursue peace with all men; it charges on us patiently to undergo whatever God imposes of burthen or sufferance : it exacts that we should