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SERM. eth and grieveth us, was by our loving Creator inXLIX. terdicted to us? Virtue is most noble and worthy,
most lovely, most profitable, most pleasant, most creditable ; vice is most sordid and base, ugly, hurtful, bitter, disgraceful in itself, and in its consequences. If we compare them together, we shall find that virtue doth always preserve our health, but vice commonly doth impair it; that virtue improveth our estate, vice wasteth it; that virtue adorneth our reputation, vice blemisheth it; that virtue strengtheneth our parts, vice weakeneth them; that virtue maintaineth our freedom, vice enslaveth us; that virtue keepeth our mind in order and peace, vice discomposeth and disquieteth it; virtue breedeth satisfaction and joy, vice spawneth displeasure and anguish of conscience : to enter therefore into a virtuous course of life, what is it but to embrace happiness ? to continue in vicious practice, what is it but to stick in misery?
By entering into good life, we enter into the favour and friendship of God, engaging his infinite power and wisdom for our protection, our succour, our direction, and guidance; enjoying the sweet effluxes of his mercy and bounty; we therewith become friends to the holy angels and blessed saints ; to all good men, being united in a holy and happy consortship of judgment, of charity, of hope, of devotion with them: we become friends to all the world, which we oblige by good wishes, and good deeds, and by the influence of good example: we become friends to ourselves, whom we thereby enrich and adorn with the best goods; whom we gratify and please with the choicest delights: but, persisting in sin, we continue to affront, wrong, and displease our Maker, to be disloyal toward our SERM. sovereign Lord, to be ingrateful toward our chief XLIX. benefactor, to disoblige the best friend we have, to provoke a most just and severe judge, to cope with omnipotency, to contradict infallibility, to enrage the greatest patience, to abuse immense goodness : we thereby become enemies to all the world; to God, whom we injure and dishonour; to the friends of God, whom we desert and oppose; to the creatures, which we abuse to our pride, lust, and vanity; to our neighbours, whom we corrupt or seduce; to ourselves, whom we bereave of the best goods, and betray to the worst evils.
Beginning to live soberly, we begin to live like men, following the conduct of reason; beginning to live in charity, we commence the life of angels, enjoying in ourselves most sweet content, and procuring great benefit to others; but going on in sinful voluptuousness, we proceed to live like beasts, wholly guided by sense, and swayed by appetite; being pertinacious in malice, we continue to be like fiends, working torment in ourselves, and mischief to our neighbours.
Embracing virtue, we become wise and sober men, worthy and honourable, beneficial and useful to the world; but continuing in vice, we continue to be foolish and vain, to be vile and despicable, to be worthless and useless.
By our delay to amend, what do we gain ? what, but a little flashy and transient pleasure, instead of a solid and durable peace; but a little counterfeit profit, instead of real wealth; but a little smoke of deceitful opinion, instead of unquestionably sound honour; shadows of imaginary goods, instead of
SERM. those which are most substantial and true, a good
souls. But this field of discourse is too spacious; I
very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I
your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Thess. v. 23.
OF INDUSTRY IN GENERAL.
Eccles, ix. 10.
might. In St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, among divers SERM. excellent rules of life, prescribed by that great master,
L. this is one, Tñ otoudñ peins ósmpoi, Be not slothful in Rom. xii. business, or to business ; and in the second Epistle to the Corinthians, among other principal virtues or worthy accomplishments, for abounding wherein the apostle commendeth those Christians, he ranketh all nãou stoudiligence, or industry exercised in all affairs and Cor. viii. duties incumbent on them : this is that virtue, the 7. 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 active powers of soul and body, the Wise Man doth recommend; 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, propos
SERM. ing divers considerations apt to excite us thereto; L.
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, toward 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, aour mind being a restless thing, never abiding in a total cessation from thought or from design; being like a ship in the sea, if not steered to some good purpose by reason, yet tossed by the waves of fancy, or driven by the winds of temptation somewhither. 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 attended with labour and pain; for our mind (which naturally doth affect variety and liberty, being apt to loathe 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 to fix
2 Η γάρ ψυχή φύσιν έχουσα του κινείσθαι διαπαντός, ουκ ανέχεται ήρεμεϊν, ču TPAKTOV TO Sãov TOūTO ÉTOYOey é Oeos, &c. Chrys. in Act. Or. 35.