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Of Industry in our general Calling, as Christians.
Rom. xii. 11.
Not Nothful in Business. NDUSTRY is a very eminent virtue, being an s ERM.
ingredient, or the parent, of all other virtues, of xiv. constant use upon all occasions, and having influence upon 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 upon 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 defir. able rewards ; success to our undertakings, wealth,
SER M. honour, wisdom, virtue, salvation ; all which as they
flow 'froin 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 labour.
It is in itself sweet and satisfactory ; as freeing our inind 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 atchieve things needful, worthy of us, and profitable to us.
It is attended with a good conscience, and cheerful reflections 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 our temp. tations 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 labour, without deserving them from the world, and requit. ing 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 SER M. active in tendency toward its proper designs; hea- xiv. ven and earth do work in inceffant 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 succour 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 upon which I have formerly difcoursed 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 Nothful in business (that is, in discharge of it) or to business (that is, to undertake it): this is the rule; the nature and needfulness whereof we shall declare.
By oted, bufness, we may understand any object of our care and endeavours 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 recompence answerable to them; the which hath opera caufam, a need of labour, 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 ; accord
SER M.ing to that of St. Chrysostom *, Labour which hath no xiv. profit, cannot obtain any praise.
There is a xeycomedía, a vain industry, and a xaxoCtredía, a naughty industry, both agreeing with genu. ine 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 t; it is a throwing away labour 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 in prosecution of them, than they? But all is about ridiculous toys, the shadows of business, suggested to them by 'apith curiosity and imita
tion. Of such industry we may understand that of Eccles. x. the Preacher, The labour of the foolish wearieth every
one of them; for that a man soon will be weary of that labour, which yieldeth no profit, or beneficial return.
* Πόνος έδιν κίρδος έχων, εγκωμία παντός απεσέρηται. Chry/. Τom. 5. Orat. 64.
+ "Αλλω γαρ έδενε φιλοπόνε τον κενόσπεδον ορίζομεν εν τοις έργοις όντα πολλάκις, και το τον μεν εις ανωφελή πονείν, και αδιαφόρως, τον δε ένεκά το Por oupe fezórtwv xai auoitedir. Plut. de commun. not. p. 1949. Edit. Steph
Σπεδάζεις και πονεϊν παιδιάς χάριν ηλίθιων φαίνεται και λίαν παιδικόν. .
Η επι μικρούς σπεδη μέμψιν φέρει. Ρlut. ibid.
Οι σπουδάζοντας εν τοις γελοίοις, εν τοις σπεδαίοις ίσονται καταγέλασει.