Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Of Industry in our particular Calling, as

Scholars.

Rom. xii. II.

I

XVI.

Not Nothful in Business. PROCEED to the other sort of persons, whom s ERM. we did propound, namely,

II. Scholars; and that on them particularly great engagements do lie to be industrious, is most evident from various considerations.

The nature and design of this calling doth suppose industry; the matter and extent of it doth require industry; the worth of it doth highly defe:ve industry. We are in special gratitude to God, in charity to men, in due regard to ourselves, bound unto it.

1. First, I say, the nature and design of our calling doth suppose industry : There is, faith the divine Ecclef. ii. Preacher, a man whose labour is in wisdom, in know- 21. ledge, and in equiry. Such men are Scholars; so that we are indeed no Scholars, but absurd usurpers of the name, if we are not laborious ; for what is a Scholar, but one who retireth his person, and avocateth his mind from other occupations, and worldly entertain

ments,

S E R M. ments, that he may xonálev, vacare ftudiis, employ xvi. his mind and leisure on study and learning, in the

search of truth, the quest of knowledge, the improve. ment of his reason. Wherefore an idle scholar, a lazy student, a fluggish man 'of learning, is nonsente. *

What is learning but a diligent attendance to instruction of masters, skilled in any knowledge, and conveying their notions to us in word or writing?

What is study, but an earnest, steady, perfevering application of mind to some matter, on which we fix our thoughts, with intent to see through it? What

in Solomon's language are these scholastic occupaProv. ii. 2. tions, but inclining the ear, and applying our heart to

understanding ? than which commonly there is nothing more laborious, more straining nature, and more tiring our spirits; whence it is well compared to the moit painful exercises of body and soul.

The wise man, advising men to seek wisdom, the which is the proper design of our calling, doth intimate that work to be like digging in the nines for silver, and like searching all about for concealed trea

sure; than which there can hardly be any more diffiProv. ii. 4, cult and painful task: If, faith he, thou seekest ber as filver, and

searchest for her as for bid treasures, then shalt thou understand.-Otherwhere he compareth the same work to affiduous watching and waiting, like that of a

guard or a client, which are the greatest instances of Prov. viii. diligence; Blefjed, saith he, (or Wisdom by him faith,

Blessed) is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Wherefore if we will approve ourselves to be what we are called, and what we pretend to be; if we will avoid being impostors, assuming a name not due to us, we must not be nothful. Farther,

2. The matter and extent of our business doth require industry from us: the matter of it, which is truth and knowledge ; the extent, which is very large

5.

34.

* 'H cogía y faunatiws is súncespią oxonas. Eccl. xxxviii. 24.

and

XVI.

and comprehensive, taking in all truth, all knowledge, S E R M. worthy our study, and uteful for the designs of it.

Our business is to find truth; the which, even in matters of high importance, is not easily to be discovered : being as a vein of silver, encompassed with earth and mixed with dross, deeply laid in the obscurity of things, wrapt up in falle appearances, entangled with objections, and perplexed with debates; being therefore not readily discoverable, especially by minds clouded with prejudices, lusts, passions, partial affections, appetites of honour and interest; whence to descry it requireth the most curious observation and solicitous circumspection that can be ; together with great pains in the preparation and purgation of our minds toward the enquiry of it.

Our business is to attain knowledge, not concerning obvious and vulgar matters, but about sublime, abstruse, intricate, and knotty subjects, remote from common observation and sense ; to get sure and exact notions about which, will try the best forces of our mind with their utmost endeavours ; in firmly settling principles, in strictly deducing confequences, in orderly digesting conclufions, in faithfully retaining what we learn by our contemplation and study.

And if to get a competent knowledge about a few things, or to be reasonably skilful in any fort of learning, be difficult, how much industry doth it require to be well feen in many, or to have walled through the vast compass of learning, in no part whereof a Scholar may conveniently or handsomely be ignorant; seeing there is such a connection of things, and dependance of notions, that one part of learning doth confer light to another, that a man can hardly well understand any thing without knowing divers other things ; that he will be a lame Scholar who hath not an insight into many kinds of knowledge, that he can hardly be a good Scholar who is not a general one.

To understand so many languages, which are the Thells of knowledge ; to comprehend so many sciences,

full

Y 2

SER M. full of various theorems and problems ; to peruse so xvi. many histories, of antient and modern times; to

know the world, both natural and human; to be acquainted with the various inventions, enquiries, opinions, and controversies of learned men; to skill the arts of expressing our mind, and imparting our conceptions with advantage, so as to instruct or persuade others; these are works indeed, which will exercise and strain our faculties (our reason, our fancy, our memory) in painful study.

The knowledge of such things is not innate to us; it doth not of itself spring up in our minds; it is not any ways incident by chance, or infused by grace (except rarely by miracle); common observation doth not produce it; it cannot be purchased at any rate, except by that, for which it was said of old, the Gods sell all things *, that is for pains ; without which, the best wit and greatest capacity may not render a man learned, as the best soil will not yield good fruit or grain, if they be not planted or fown therein.

Consider, if you please, what a scholar Solomon was: beside his skill in politicks, which was his principal faculty and profession, whereby he did with admira

ble dexterity and prudence manage the affairs of that 1 Kings iii. great kingdom, judging his people, and discerning what

was good, and bad; accurately dispensing justice ; settling his country in a most flourishing state of peace,

order, plenty, and wealth; largely extending his ter1 Kings iv. ritory ; so that his wisdom of this kind was famous

over the earth ; beside, I say, this civil wisdom, he 1 Kings iv. had an exquisite skill in natural philosophy and me1 Kings x.

dicine ; for He spake of trees, or plants, from the cedar that is in Lebanon, even unto the hylop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

He was well versed in the mathematicks; for it is

9.

20, 25. X. 27.

21, &c.

6, 24.

iv.

33.

* Dii laboribus omnia vendunt.

30.

said, Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the s e Rm. children of the east-country, and all the wisdom of Egypt; XVI. the wisdom of which nations did consist in those sciences. And of his mechanick skill, he left for a : Kings iv. monument the most glorious structure that ever stood on earth.

He was very skilful in poetry and musick; for he did himself compose above a thousand songs ; whereof 1 Kings iv. one yet extant declareth the loftiness of his fancy, the 32. richness of his vein, and the elegancy of his style.

He had great ability and rhetorick ; according to that in Wildom, God granted me to speak as I would ; Sap. vii. !s. and that in Ecclefiaftes, The Preacher fought to find ... out acceptable words; a great instance of which fa- 1 Kings viii. culty we have in that admirable prayer of his composure at the dedication of the Temple.

He did wonderfully excel in ethicks ; concerning which he spake three thousand proverbs, or moral 1 Kings iv. aphorisms, and moreover, saith Ecclesiastes, because Ecclef

. xii. the Preacher was wife, he still taught the people know- 9. ledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs ; the which did contain a great variety of notable observations and useful directions for common life, couched in pithy expressions.

As for theology, as the study of that was the chief Prov, ii. 5, study to which he exhorteth others (as to the head, or principal part of wisdom), lo questionless he was himself most conversant therein ; for proof whereof he did leave so many excellent theorems and precepts of divinity to us.

In fine, there is no sort of knowledge, to which he did not apply his study; witness himself in those words, I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom Ecclef. i. 13. concerning all things that are done under heaven.

Such a Scholar was he; and such if we have a noble ambition to be, we must use the course he did; which was first in his heart to prefer wisdom before all worldly things; then to pray to God for it, or for his blessing in our quest of it; then to use the

&c.

Y 3

means

« AnteriorContinuar »