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and uniform guidance of our reason and conscience, s E R M. than to shuffle and shift, wandering after the various, uncertain, and inconstant opinions or humours of men? What matter is it, what clothes we wear, what garb we appear in, during this posture of travel and lojourning here ; what for the present we go for ; how men esteem us, what they think of our actions ? St. Paul at least did not much stand upon it; for with mez
said he, it is a very small thing (endégeisav, the 1 Cor. iv. 3. least thing that can come under consideration) to be judged of you, or of human day (that is, of this present transitory, fallible, reversible judgment of men). If we mean well and do righteously, our conscience will at present satisfy us, and the divine (unerring and impartial) sentence will hereafter acquit us; no unjust or uncharitable censure shall prejudice us : if we entertain base designs, and deal unrighteously, as our conscience will accuse and vex us here, so God will shortly condemn and punish us; neither shall the most favourable conceit of men stand us in stead. Every man's work shall become manifest ; for the 1 Cor. iii, day shall declare it; because it mall be revealed by fire ; +3. and the fire (that is, a severe and strict enquiry) shall try every man's work, of what fort it is. I cannot infift more on this point; I shall only say, that considering the brevity and uncertainty of our present state, the greatest fimplicity may justly be deemed the truest wisdom ; that who deceives others, doth cozen himself most; that the deepest policy, used to compass, or to conceal bad designs, will in the end appear the most downright folly.
I might add to the precedent discourses, that Philofophy itself * hath commended this consideration as a proper and powerful inftrument of virtue, reckoning the practice thereof a main part of wisdom ; the greatest proficient therein in common esteem, So
* Τέτο έχει και τελειότης το ήθος το πασαν ημέραν ως τελευταίας διεξάgu. Anton. lib. 7.
SER M.crates, having defined philosophy, or the study of
wisdom, to be nothing else but uerétn Javíte, the - study of death ; intimating also in Plato's Phædon) that this study, the meditation of death, and preparation of his mind to leave this world, had been the constant and chief employment of his life : that likewise, according to experience, nothing more avails to render the minds of men sober and well composed, than such spectacles of mortality, as do impress this consideration upon them.
them. For whom doth not the sight of a coffin, or of a grave gaping to receive a friend, perhaps, or an ancient acquaintance; however a man in nature and state altogether like ourselves; of the mournful looks and habits, of all the fad pomps and folemnities attending man unto his long home, by minding him of his own frail condition, affect with some serious, some honest, some wise thoughts? And if we be reasonable men, we may every day supply the need of such occasions, by representing to ourselves the necessity of our foon returning to the dust; dressing in thought our own hearses, and celebrating our own funerals ; by living under the continual apprehension and sense of our transitory and uncertain condition ; dying daily, or becoming already dead unto this world. The doing which eflectually being the gift of God, and an especial work of his grace, let us of him humbly implore it, saying after the holy prophet, Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Amen.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth 10 do, do it with all thy
N St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, among di-S ERM,
vers excellent rules of life, prescribed by that XII. great master, this is one, Tñ atrodon pen úxunpoi, Be not Nothful in business, or to business; and in the ad Epi. Rom. xii, ftle to the Corinthians, among other principal virtues, or worthy accomplishments, for abounding wherein the Apostle commendeth those Christians, he ranketh all diligence or industry exercised in all affairs and näsa orodhe duties incumbent on them : this is that virtue, the 2 Cor. viii. practice whereof in this moral precept or advice the royal Preacher doth recommend unto us; being indeed an eminent virtue, of very general use, and powerful influence upon the management of all our affairs, or in the conduct of our whole life.
Industry, I say, in general, touching all matters incident, which our hand findeth to do, that is, which dispensation of Providence doth offer, or which choice of reason embraceth, for employing our ac
SER M. tive powers of foul and body, the wise man doth re
commend; and to pressing the observance of his advice (waving all curious remarks either critical or logical upon the words) I shall presently apply my discourse, proposing divers considerations apt to excite us thereto; only first, let me briefly describe it, for our better apprehension of its true notion and nature.
By industry we understand a serious and steady application of mind, joined with a vigorous exercise of our active faculties, in prosecution of any reasonable, honest, useful design, in order to the accomplishment or attainment of some considerable good; as for instance, a merchant is industrious, who continueth intent and active in driving on his trade for acquiring wealth ; a soldier is industrious, who is watchful for occasion, and earnest in action towards obtaining the victory; and a scholar is industrious, who doth assiduously bend his mind to study for getting knowledge.
Industry doth not consist merely in action; for that is incessant in all persons, * our mind being a restless thing, never abiding in a total ceffation from thought or from design ; being like a ship in the sea, if not steered to some good purpose by reason, yet toffed by the waves of fancy, or driven by the winds of temptation fomewhither. But the direction of our mind to some good end, without roving or flinching, in a straight and steady course, drawing after it our active powers in execution thereof, doth constitute industry; the which therefore usually is attend. ed with labour and pain; for our mind (which naturally doth affect variety and liberty, being apt to loath familiar objects, and to be weary of any constraint) is not easily kept in a constant attention to the same thing; and the spirits employed in thought are prone to flutter and fly away, so that it is hard
* Η γαρ ψυχή φύσιν έχουσα του κινείσθαι διαπαντός, ουκ ανέχεται nesusi, õue me parlos Tè Two tãto inuicu @cos, &c, Cbryf.is Ath Oth 35.
to fix them: and the corporeal instruments of action s ER M. being strained to a high pitch, or detained in a tone, will soon feel a laffitude somewhat offensive to nature; whence labour or pain is commonly reckoned an ingredient of industry, and laboriousness is a name signifying it ; upon which account this virtue, as involving labour, deserveth a peculiar commendation ; it being then most-laudable to follow the dictates of reason, when so doing is attended with difficulty and trouble.
Such in general I conceive to be the nature of industry; to the practice whereof the following confiderations may induce.
1. We may consider that industry doth befit the conftitution and frame of our nature ; all the faculties of our soul and organs of our body being adapted in a congruity and tendency thereto : our hands are suited for work, our feet for travel, dur senses to watch for occasion of pursuing good and eschewing evil, our reason to plod and contrive ways of employing the other parts and powers; all these, I say, are formed for action ; and that not in a loose and gadding way, or in a slack and remiss degree, but in regard to determinate ends, with vigour requisite to attain them; and especially our appetites do prompt to industry, as inclining to things not attainable without it; according to that aphorism of the wife man, Επιθυμίαι οκνηρόν αποκτείνεσιν-The defire Ρτον. και. of the Nothful killeth bim, for his hands refuse to labour ; 25. xii. 4. that is, he is apt to desire things which he cannot attain without pains; and not enduring them, he for want thereof doth feel a deadly smart and anguish : wherefore in not being industrious we defeat the intent of our Maker ; we pervert his work and gifts; we forfeit the use and benefit of our faculties; we are bad husbands of nature's stock.
2. In consequence hereto industry doth preserve and perfect our nature, keeping it in good tune and temper, improving and advancing it toward its best R3