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doth conspire and co-operate to the strength, nourishment, thriving, and welfare of the whole.
Every man (who continueth a man, in his senses, or in any good degree of natural integrity) is by God endowed with competent abilities to discharge some function useful to common good, or at least needful to his own sustenance; to every one some talent is committed, which in subordination to God's service he may improve, to the benefit of the world, God's temporal, or of the church, God's spiritual kingdom. It is plainly neces
cessary that the greatest part of men should have a determinate work alloted to them, that they may support their life and get their food, without being injurious, offensive, or burdensome to others; for their living they must either follow some trade, they must shark and filch, or they must beg, or they must starve.
And the rest are obliged to do somewhat conducible to public good, that they may deserve to live; for a drone should not be among the bees, nor hath right to devour the honey. If any man doth pretend, or presume, that he hath nothing to do but to eat, to sleep, to play, to laugh, to enjoy his ease, bis pleasure, his humor, he thereby doth as it were disclaim a reasonable title of living among men, and sharing in the fruits of their industry; he, in St. Paul's judgment, should be debarred of food, for this,' saith the holy Apostle, “we commanded you, that if any man would not work, neither should he eat.'
Such an one in the body of men, what is he but an unnatural excrescence, sucking nutriment from it, without yielding ornament or use? What is he but a wen deforming and encumbera ing the body, or a canker infesting and corrupting it?
As no man (at least with decency, convenience, and comfort) can live in the world, without being obliged to divers other men for their help in providing accommodations for him; so justice and ingenuity, corroborated by divine sanctions, do require of him, that in commutation he, one way or other, should undertake some pains redounding to the benefit of others.
So hath the great Author of order distributed the ranks and offices of men in order to mutual benefit and comfort, that one man should plough, another thrash, another grind, another labor at the forge, another knit or weave, another sail, another
trade, another supervise all these, laboring to keep them all in order and peace; that one should work with bis hands and feet, another with his head and tongue; all conspiring to one common end, the welfare of the whole, and the supply of what is useful to each particular member; every man so reciprocally obliging and being obliged; the prince being obliged to the husbandman for his bread, to the weaver for his clothes, to the mason for his palace, to the smith for his sword; those being all obliged to him for his vigilant care in protecting them, for their security in pursuing the work, and enjoying the fruit of their industry.
So every man hath a calling and proper business; whereto that industry is required, I need not much to prove, the thing itself in reason and experience being so clearly evident: for what business can be well dispatched, what success. can be expected to any undertaking, in what calling can any man thrive, without industry? What business is there that will go on of itself, or proceed to any good issue, if we do not carefully look to it, steadily hold it in its course, constantly push and drive it forward ? It is true, as in nature, so in all affairs, Nihil movet non motum, nothing moveth without being moved.
Our own interest should move us to be industrious in our calling, that we may obtain the good effects of being so in a comfortable and creditable subsistence; that we may not suffer the damages and wants, the disappointments and disgraces ensuing on sloth : but the chief motive should be from piety and conscience; for that it is a duty which we owe to God. For God having placed us in our station, he having apportioned to us our task, we being in transaction of our business his servants, we do owe to him that necessary property of good servants, without which fidelity cannot subsist; for how can he be looked on as a faithful servant, who doth not effectually perform the work charged on him, or diligently execute the orders of his master?
St. Paul doth enjoin servants that they should • in all things obey their masters,' with conscientious regard to God, as therein performing service to God, and expecting recompense from him: and of princes he saith, that they, in dispensation of jus-, tice, enacting laws, imposing taxes, and all political admini
strations, are the ministers of God,' apookaprepoūrtes, ' attending constantly on this very thing :' and if these extremes, the highest and lowest of all vocations, are services of God; if the highest on that score be tied to so much diligence, then surely all middle places, on the same account of conscience toward God, do exact no less.
If he that hath one talent, and he that hath ten, must both improve them for God's interest; then he that hath two, or three, or more, is obliged to the same duty proportionably.
Every one should consider the world as the family of that great Paterfamilias, ‘ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,' and himself as an officer or servant therein, by God's will and designation constituted in that employment, into which Providence hath cast him; to confer, in his order and way, somewhat toward a provision for the maintenance of himself, and of his fellow-servants. Of a superior officer our Lord saith, · Who is that faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them their meat in due season ? So the greatest men are as stewards, treasurers, comptrollers, or purveyors; the rest are inferior servants, in their proper rank and capacity.
And he that with diligence performeth his respective duty (be it high and honorable, or mean and contemptible in outward appearance) will please God, as keeping good order, and as being useful to his service ; so that, on the reckoning, God will say to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things ;' • I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' But he that doeth otherwise (behaving himself carelessly or sluggishly in his business) will offend God, as committing disorder, and as being unprofitable.
He committeth disorder, according to that of St. Paul ; ' We hear there are some, which walk among you disorderly, not working at all. His sentence and doom will be, according to our Lord, Othou wicked and slothful servant' _ Cast the unprofitable servant into utter darkness ;' which words are spoken in relation to one, who being a slatterer, or sluggard in his calling, did not improve the special talent intrusted with him for God's service.
In fine, if we are conscientiously industrious in our vocation, we shall assuredly find the blessing of God thereon; and that he thereby will convey good success, comfort, competent wealth, a fair reputation, all desirable good unto us; for as all these things are promised to industry, so the promise especially doth belong to that industry, which a man doth exercise in an orderly course of action in his own way; or rather in God's way, wherein divine Providence hath set him.
An irregular or impertinent laboriousness, out of a man's calling or sphere; a being diligent in other men's affairs, invading their office, (as if I a priest will be trading, a layman preaching,) may not claim the benefit of those promises, or the blessings of industry: but a husbandman, who, with conscientious regard to God, and confidence in him, is painful in tilling his ground, may expect a good crop; a merchant, who (on the same principle, with the like disposition) earnestly followeth his trade, may hope for safe voyages and good markets ; a prince carefully minding his affairs may look for peace and prosperity to his country; a scholar studying hard may be well assured of getting knowlege, and finding truth; all, who with honest diligence constantly do pursue their business, may confidently and cheerfully hope to reap the advantages suitable to it from the favorable blessing of God. So that we have all reason to observe the Apostle's precept, 'Not to be slothful in business.'
I should apply this doctrine to our own case, urging its practice by considerations peculiar to our vocation : but having already passed the bounds of time, I reserve the doing it to another opportunity.
• Now the God of peace sanctify you wholly, and make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasiug in his sight,' through our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ; to whom for ever be all glory and praise. Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON LIII.
ROMANS, CHAP. XII.--VERSE 11.
The duty of industry more particularly and closely applied to those persons who seem especially obliged to it: these are of two sorts, gentlemen and scholars.
I. With respect to gentlemen, or persons of eminent rank, honor, and wealth, it may seem rather paradoxical to require industry from them; for who appear to have less need of it? He that has a fair estate, and can live on his means, what has he to do but to enjoy these benefits of fortune? Why may he not say, with the rich man in the gospel, Soul, thou hast much goods, &c.? According to the popular notion, what makes a gentleman but his pleasure? If this be so, and if a gentleman be nothing else but this, truly he is the most inconsiderable, despicable, and wretched creature in the world: if it be his privilege to do nothing, it is his privilege to be most unhappy: this point enlarged on.
But in truth it is far otherwise; no man has more to do: he is obliged to labor continually on a triple account; in respect to God, to the world, and to himself.
1. In respect to God: out of a grateful regard to divine bounty for the eminency of his station, the comforts of his life, and his exemption from those cares and troubles to which the generality of men are subject; he is bound to be more diligent in God's service, and employ all the advantages of his state to the glory of his beneficent creator, to whose good providence he owes them. His gratitude should be shown in proportion to his fortune; he should dedicate larger portions of that free