Page images

SERM. to him; whenas idleness, finding some difficulties, LI.

and fancying more, soon dishearteneth, and causeth a man to desist from action, rather choosing to crouch under the burden, 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 slothful person the easiest things will appear impossible; according to Solomon's observation: The way, saith he, of a slothful man is an hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is made plain'; whereas a slothful 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 slothful man, saith he, doth say, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streetsd: 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 consideration St. Chrysostom doth propose, exciting to an earnest pursuit of virtue ; because, There is, saith he, nothing so easy, which our great sloth doth not represent very grievous and burdensome ; nothing so painful and difficult, which diligence and willingness do not shew to be very easy

• y». Proν. ΧV. 19. “Οδοί αεργών έστρωμέναι ακάνθαις, αι δε των ανδρείων τετριμμέναι. .

d Proν. xxii. 13. Χxvi. 13. Προφασίζεται, και λέγει οκνηρός, Λέων εν ταϊς οδοίς, εν δε ταϊς πλατείαις φονευται.

* Ουδέν ούτως έστι ράδιον, ο μη σφόδρα βαρύ και επαχθές ο πολύς δείκ

12. Του δούλου. .

3. We may consider that industry will sweeten SERM.

LI. all our enjoyments, and season them with a grateful relish; for as no man can well enjoy himself, or find sound content in any thing, while business or duty lie unfinished on his hand; so when he hath done his best toward the despatch of his work, he will then comfortably take his ease, and enjoy his pleasure; then his food doth taste savourily, then his divertisements and recreations have a lively gustfulness, then his sleep is very sound and pleasant, according to that of the Preacher, The sleep of a Eccles. v. labouring man is sweet.

4. Especially those accommodations prove most delightful, which our industry hath procured to us; we looking on them with a special tenderness of affection, 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 savour, or find sound comfort in them; and from what cometh merely by chance, as there is no commendation due, so much satisfaction will not arise. It is the Wise Man's observation, The sloth- Prov. xii. ful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting, 27. and therefore it cannot be very grateful to him ; but, addeth he, the substance of a diligent man is precious; that is, what a man compasseth by honest industry, that he is apt highly to prize; he triumph

νυσιν όκνος ημών" ώσπερ επίπονον και η δυσχερες, και μη λίαν εύχoλον η σπουδή kalý #poorpia. Chrys. tom. vi. Or. p. 15. 144.

Τα μεν δάδια τους αμελούντας φεύγει, τα δε χαλεπά επιμελείαις inícketai. Plut. de Educ.

Cui sit conditio dulcis sine pulvere palmæ? Hor. Ep. i. 1.


SERM. eth in it, and (in St. Paul's sense innocently) boast

LI. eth of it; he feeleth a solid pleasure and a pure 1 Cor. ix. 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, is more affected with those things, for which it hath laboured; for which reason, addeth he, God hath mixed labours with virtue itself, that he might endear it to us 8. Yea further,

5. 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.

The reflection upon our having embraced a wise choice, our proceeding in a fair way, our being in chase of a good purpose, 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.

And whereas in all labour, as the Wise Man telleth us, there is profit, the foresight of that profit

Prov. xiv. 23.

8 Περί εκείνα μάλλον η ψυχή διακείται, υπέρ ών έκαμε" διά τούτο και πόνους ανέμιξεν αρετή οικειώσαι αυτή ταύτην βουλόμενος. Chrys. in Joh. Orat. 36.


12. v. 2.

I Tim. iv.


2 Cor. iii.

I Jobo iii.

1 Pet. i. 3.

affordeth pleasure, the foretasting the good fruits of SERM.

LI. our industry is very delicious.

Hope, indeed, doth ever wait on industry: and 1 Cor. ix. what is more delightful than hope? This is the Rom. xii. incentive, the support, the condiment of all honest Heb. iii. 6. labour b; in virtue whereof the husbandman toileth, the merchant trudgeth, the scholar ploddeth, the (Col. 1:14 soldier dareth with alacrity and courage, not re-12, senting any pains, not regarding any hazards, which 3. attend their undertakings: this the holy apostles Tit. ii. 13.) tell us did enable them with joy to sustain all their painful work 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 i; 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 slipping fair opportunities, of our not using the abilities and advantages granted us, to any profit or fruit: whence St. Chrysostom saith very truly, that there is nothing more unpleasant, more painful, more miserable, than a man that hath nothing to do: Is not this, saith he, worse than ten thousand chains, to hang

ipsa operis difficultate lætus spem segetis de labore metitur. Apud Aug. Ep. 142.

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

Otioso in otio animus nescit quid quidem velit, &c. Ennius apud Agel. xix. 10.

vivi homi


SERM. in suspense, and be continually gaping, looking on LI.

those who are present k ? Indeed the strictest imprisonment is far more tolerable, than being under restraint by a lazy humour from profitable employment: this enchaineth a man hand and foot, with

more than iron fetters : this is beyond any impriOtium est sonment; it is the very entombment of a man, quite nis sepul- in effect sequestering him from the world, or de

barring him from any valuable concerns therein. And if liberty be é Ecuola aŭtonpaylas, a power of doing what one liketh best ; then is he, who by his sloth is disabled from doing any thing wherein he can find any reasonable satisfaction, the veriest slave that can be ; from which slavery industry freeing us, and disposing us to perform cheerfully whatever is convenient, thereby doeth us a great pleasure. Further,

6. Let us consider, that industry doth afford a lasting comfort, deposited in the memory and conscience of him that practiseth it. It will ever, upon his reviewing the passages of his life, be sweet to him to behold in them testimonies and monuments of his diligence; it will please him to consider, that he hath lived to purpose, having done somewhat considerable ; that he hath made an advantageous use of his time ; that he hath well husbanded the talents committed to him; that he hath accomplished in some measure) the intents of God's bounty, and made some return for his excellent gifts. What comfort, indeed, can any man have, yea, how

Κ Και τί αηδέστερον γένοιτ' άν ανθρώπου ουδέν έχοντος ποιείν ; τί μοχθηρότερον και τι ταλαιπωρότερον και μυρίων ου χείρον τούτο δεσμών, χασμάσθαι και κεχήνεναι διαπαντός επί της αγοράς καθήμενον, ορώντα τους παριόντας; Chrys. in Act. Or. 35

« PreviousContinue »