Page images
[ocr errors]

"neft, whatsoever things are juft, whatfoever things are pure, whatsoever things "are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, and if there be any virtue, if there "be any praife, think on these things," and do them. This will adminifter to you true pleafure in life, and folid hope in death; and hereafter the found of the laft trumpet, the terror of the negligent and unfaithful fervant, will be the triumphant fignal of your releafe from the grave, and the fummons of your Lord to enter into his joy. Amen.




PROVERBS vi. 6, 7, 8.

Go to the ant, thou fluggard; confider ber ways, and be wife: which having no guide, overfeer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the fummer, and gathereth her food in the barvest.


AN was created with more understanding than the beasts of the earth: But our minds are fo debafed by our apoftafy from God, that the meanest creatures may become our teachers. And accordingly, the Spirit of God, in the Scriptures, doth frequently fend us to learn our duty from the example of the beafts of the field, and of the fowls of heaven. Thus, ingratitude is reproved by the example of thofe animals which are accounted the most ftupid and untractable, (Isaiah i. 3.) “ The

[ocr errors][merged small]

cc ox knoweth his owner, and the afs his " ́master's crib; but Ifrael doth not know,

my people doth not confider." An inattention to the conduct of divine Providence, and a neglect of the proper feafons of activity, are in like manner condemned by the example of the fowls of heaven." The ftork "knoweth her appointed times, and the tur“tle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe "the times of their coming; but my peo"ple (faith God) know not the judgement "of the Lord," (Jerem. viii. 7.) To cure us of exceffive carefulness and anxiety, our Saviour fends us to "confider the ravens : "they neither fow nor reap; they have "neither ftorehouse nor barn; yet God "feedeth them: How much more," faith he, “are ye better than the fowls?" (Luke xii. 24). And in my text, to cure us of negligence and floth, Solomon fends us to a creature of the smallest fize, but of most wonderful activity." Go to the ant, thou "fluggard; confider her ways, and be wife: "which having no guide, overfeer, or ruler, " provideth her meat in the fummer, and "gathereth her food in the harvest."

[ocr errors]

In difcourfing on these words, I will,

ft, Confider the character of the perfon whom the wife man here addreffes. And,

2dly, The counfel or advice which he gives him; and will then conclude with a practical improvement of the fubject.

I begin with the character of the perfon to whom this advice is addreffed. "Go to "the ant," faith Solomon, "thou flug"gard;" and the character of the fluggard is fo minutely defcribed in this book, and in the book of Ecclefiaftes, that any of us may foon be acquainted with it."

Solomon obferves in general, that floth cafteth into a deep fleep; and he reprefents the fluggard in this ftate, in the verses immediately following my text. When it is faid to him, "How long wilt thou sleep, O "fluggard? when wilt thou arise out of

thy fleep?" inftead of being affected with the just reproach, he begs earnestly for farther indulgence, "Yet a little fleep, a little "flumber, a little folding of the hands to "fleep."" As the door turneth upon its

" hinges,

" hinges, fo doth the flothful man upon his “bed." At length, when fleep itself bath become wearifome, and he hath rifen from his bed, he hath changed his fituation only to give a new indulgence to his floth. “He hi"deth his hand in his bofom," and will not fo much as "bring it to his mouth again." He fpends his time in fruitlefs wishes: The foul of the fluggard "defireth, and hath not," Tomorrow is always a day of labour, to-day is always fpent in idleness: And thus "the defire " of the slothful killeth him, because his hands

retufe to labour." He is difcouraged by the least oppofition: "The way of the floth"ful man is as a hedge of thorns." Every difficulty furnisheth him with an excufe for his idleness: "The fluggard will not plow

by reason of the cold." Nay, rather than want an excufe, he creates imaginary dangers to himself: He faith, "There is a lion "without, I fhall be flain in the streets." At length, "By much flothfulness the building

decays, and through the idleness of the "hands the houfe droppeth through." "His field and his vineyard are grown over

with thorns: nettles cover the face there


« PreviousContinue »