Imágenes de páginas

S ER M. chosen, labour ; or whether it be to be eschewed, labour, Xul. that thou mayest not labour; for by not labouring, labour is

not escaped, but is rather pursued; and St. Chrysostom * doth upon the same consideration urge industry, because Sloth, faith he, is wont to spoil us, and to yield us much pain. No man can cozen nature, escaping the labour to which he was born; but rather attempting it, will delude himself, then finding most, when he shunneth all labour.

Sloth, indeed, doth affect ease and quiet, but by affecting them doth lose them ; it hateth labour and trouble, but by hating them doth incur them; it is a felf-destroying vice, not suffering those who cherish it to be idle, but creating much work, and multiplying pains unto them ; engaging them into divers necessities and straits, which they cannot support with ease, and out of which, without extreme trou

ble, they cannot extricate themselves : of this the Ecclef. x.18. Preacher doth afford us a plain inftance; By much

Nothfulness, faith he, the building decayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. A little care taken at first about repairing the house, would have saved its decay and ruin, and consequently the vast charge and trouble, becoming needful to re-edify it; and the like doth happen in most other cases and occurrences of life : idleness commonly doth let slip opportunities and advantages, which cannot with ease be retrieved; it letteth things fall into a bad case, out of which they can hardly be recovered.

The certain consequences of it (disgrace, penury, want of experience ; disobliging and lofing friends, with all the like mischiefs) cannot be supported without much disquiet; and they disable a man from redressing the inconveniences into which he is plunged.

But industry, by a little voluntary labour taken in

[ocr errors]

due place and season, doth save much necessary la-S E R M. bour afterward, and by moderate care doth prevent XIII. intolerable distress; and the fruits of it (wealth, reputation, skill, and dexterity in affairs, friendships, all advantages of fortune) do enable a man to pass his life with great ease, comfort, and delight.

2. Industry doth beget ease, by procuring good habits, and facility of acting things expedient for us to do. By taking pains to-day we shall need less pains to-morrow; and by continuing the exercise, within a while we shall need no pains at all, but perform the most difficult tasks of duty, or of benefit to us, with perfect ease, yea commonly with great pleasure. What sluggish people account hard and irksome (as to rise early, to hold close to study or business, to bear some hardship) will be natural and sweet; as proceeding from another nature, raised in

us by use.

Industry doth breed assurance and courage, needful for the undertaking and prosecution of all necessary business, or for the performance of all duties incumbent on us.

No man can quite decline business, or disengage himself from duty, without infinite damage and mischief accruing to himself: but these an industrious man (confiding in this efficacious quality) will set upon with alacrity, and dispatch with facility, his diligence avoiding obstacles, and smoothing the way to him when as idleness finding some difficulties, and fancying more, soon dishearteneth, and causeth a man to defist from action, rather choosing to crouch under the burthen, than by endeavour to carry it through, to discharge himself thereof : whence as to an industrious man things seeming difficult will prove easy, so to a fothful person the easiest things will appear impoffible ; according to Solomon's obfervation: The way, faith he, of * a Nothful man is an hedge of thorns,

[ocr errors]

* bsy. Prov. xv. 19.

Οδοί άνεργων εσρωμέναι, αι δε των ανδρείων τετριμμένα»



SE R M. but the way of the upright is made plain; whereas a

nothful man, being apt to neglect his obligations, is opposed to an upright man, who hath a conscionable regard to them, and is willing to take pains in the discharge of them : so it is declared, that to the one the way is rough and thorny, to the other beaten and expedite.

And again, The Nothful man*, faith he, doth say, there is a lion without, I shall be sain in the streets: he is very apt to conceit, or to pretend imaginary difficulties and hazards, and thence to be deterred from going about his business, or doing his duty. This confideration St. Chrysostom yp doth propose, exciting to an earnest pursuit of virtue ; because, There is, laith he, nothing so easy, which our great foth doth not represent very grievors and burihenfome; nothing so painful and difficult, which diligence and willingness do not foew to be very easy.

3. We may consider that industry will sweeten all our enjoyments, and season them with a grateful relish; for as no man can well enjoy himself, or find found content in any thing, while business or duty lie unfinished on his hand ; so when he hath done his beft toward the dispatch of his work, he will then comfortably take his ease, and enjoy his pleasure; then his food doth taste favourily, then his divertisements and recreations have a lively gustfulness, then

his sleep is very sound and pleasant, according to Eccles. v. that of the Preacher, The sleep of a labouring man is

4. Especially those accommodations prove most

[ocr errors]

* Prov. xxii. 13. xxvi. 13.

Προφασίζεται, και λέγει οκνηρος, Λέων εν ταις οδούς, εν δε ταις πλατείαις φονινται. .

+ Ουδέν έτως επί ραδιον, ο μη σφόδρα βαρύ και επαχθές ο πολύς δείκνυσιν όκνος ημων ώσπερ επίπονον και η δυχερές και μη λίαν εύχoλον η σπουδή και j apodopía. Cbryf. Tom. 6. Or. p. 15. 144.

Τα μεν ράδια της αμελούντας φεύγει, τα δε χαλεπα επιμελείαις αλίσκεTav. Plut, de Educ.


delightful, which our industry hath procured to us; S E R M. we looking on them with a special tenderness of affec- X111. tion, as on the children of our endeavour; we being sensible at what costs of care and pain we did purchase them. * If a man getteth wealth by fraud or violence, if he riseth to preferment by flattery, detraction, or any bad arts, he can never taste any good favour, or find found comfort in them; and from what cometh merely by chance, as there is no commendation due, so much fatisfaction will not arise. It is the wise man's observation, The Nothful man roast- Prov. xii. eth not that which he took in hunting, and therefore it 27. cannot be very grateful to him ; but, addeth he, the substance of a diligent man is precious ; that is, what a man compafseth by honest industry, that he is apt highly to prize; he triumpheth in it, and (in St. Paul's 1 Cor. ir. sense innocently) boasteth of it; he feeleth a solid 15. pleasure and a pure complacency therein : the manner of getting it doth more please him than the thing itself; as true hunters do love the sport more than the quarry, and generous warriors more rejoice in the victory than in the spoil; for our soul, as St. Chrysostom discourseth t, is more affeated with those things, for which it hath laboured; for which reason, addeth he, God hath mixed labours with virtue il felf, that he might endear it to 11s. Yea farther,

The very exercise of industry immediately in itself is delightful, and hath an innate satisfaction, which tempereth all annoyances, and even ingratiateth the pains going with it.

The very settlement of our mind on fit objects, or its acquiescence in determinate action, conducing to a good end, whereby we are freed of doubt, distraction, and fastidious listlessness, doth minister content.


* Cui fit conditio dulcis Gine pulvere palmæ ? Hor. Ep. l. 1.

+ Περί εκείνα μάλλον η ψυχή διακείται, υπέρ ών έκαμεν δια τούτο και πόνους ανέμιξεν αρετη οικειώσαι αυτη ταύτην βουλόμενος. Chry/. in 7ο. Orat. 36.




1 Cor. ix. JO. 12. v. 2. Heb. iii. 6.

The reflection upon our having embraced a wise xiii. choice, our proceeding in a fair way, our being in

chace of a good purpole, doth breed complacence.

To consider that we are spending our time accountably, and improving our talents to good advantage (to the service of God, the benefit of our neighbour, the bettering of our own state) is very

cheering and comfortable. Prov. xiv. And whereas in all labour, as the wise man telleth

us, there is profit, the foresight of that profit affordeth pleasure, the foretasting the good fruits of our industry is very delicious.

Hope, indeed, doth ever wait on industry: and Rom. xii. what is more delightful than hope? This is the in

centive, the support, the condiment of all honest la1 Tim. iv. bour * ; in virtue whereof the husbandman toileth,

the merchant trudgeth, the scholar ploddeth, the sol2 Cor. fi. dier dareth with alacrity and courage, not resenting "John i. any pains, not regarding any hazards which attend

their undertakings: this the holy apostles tell us did Pet: 1. 3. enable them with

joy to sustain all their painful work, Tit ii. 13. and hazardous warfare; enjoining us also as to work

with fear, so to rejoice in hope.

In fine, industry doth free us from great displeasure, by redeeming us from the molestations of idleness, which is the most tedious and irksome thing in the world, racking our soul with anxious suspense, and perplexing distraction up; starving it for want of satisfactory entertainment, or causing it to feed on its own heart by doleful considerations ; infesting it with crowds of frivolous, melancholic, troublesome, stinging thoughts ; galling it with a sense of our squandering away precious time, of our sipping fair

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ipsa operis difficultate lætus fpem segetis de labore me: titur. Apud Aug. Ep. 142.

+ Otio qui nescit uti plus habet negotii, &c.

Otiofo in otio animus nescit quid quidem velit, &c. Ennies apud Agel. 19. 10.


« AnteriorContinuar »