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in prosecution of them, than they? But all is about ridiculous toys, the shadows of business, suggested to them by apish curiosity and imitation. Of such industry we may understand that of the preacher, • The labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them ;' for that a man soon will be weary of that labor, which yieldeth no profit, or beneficial return.
But there is another industry worse than that, when men are very busy in devising and compassing mischiefs; an industry whereof the devil affordeth a great instance; for the cursed fiend is very diligent, ever watching for occasions to supplant us, ever plotting methods and means to do harm, ever driving on Iris mischievous designs with unwearied activity ; 'going to and fro in the earth ;' running about as a roaring lion,' looking for prey, and seeking whom he may devour.'
And his wicked brood are commonly like him, being * workers of iniquity,' oi rovnpoi, 'painful men,' oi mavoūpyou, men that will do all things; who will spare no pains, nor leave any stone unturned, for satisfying their lusts, and accomplishing their bad designs.
So indeed it is, that as no great good, so neither can any great mischief be effected without much pains; and if we consider either the characters or the practices of those, who have been famous mischief-doers, the pests of mankind and disturbers of the world, we shall find them to have been no sluggards.
These two sorts of vain and bad industry the prophet Isaiah seemeth to describe in those words : • They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web;' of which expressions one may denote mischievous, the other frivolous diligence in contrivance or execution of naughty or vain designs; and to them both that of the prophet Hosea may be referred : • They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind ;' guilt, remorse, and punishment being the consequences of both. And of them both common experience doth afford very frequent and obvious instances, a great part of human life being taken up with them. For,
How assiduously intent and eager may we observe men to be at sports ! How soon will they rise to go forth to them! With what constancy and patience will they toil in them all
the day! How indefatigable are they in riding and running about after a dog or a hawk, to catch a poor beast or silly bird !
How long will men sit poring on their games, dispensing with their food and sleep for it.
How long and serious attention will men yield to a wanton play! How many hours will they contentedly sit thereat ! What study will men employ on jests and impertinent wit ! How earnest will they be to satisfy their vain curiosity !
How in such cases do men forget what they are doing, that sport should be sport, not work; to divert and relax us, not to employ and busy us; to take off our minds a little, not wholly to take them up; not to exhaust or tire our spirits, but to refresh and cheer them, that they may become more fit for grave and serious occupations!
How painful will others be in hewing them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that will hold no water;' that is, in immoderate pursuit of worldly designs! How studiously will they plod, how restlessly will they trudge, what carking and drudgery will they endure in driving on projects of ambition and avarice! What will not they gladly do or suffer, to get a little preferment, or a little profit! It was a common practice of old, and sure the world is not greatly mended since the Psalmist did thus reflect, “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew; surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.'
How many vigilant and stout pursuers are there of sensuality and riotous excess; such as those of whom the prophet speaketh, • Wo unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!'
How busy (O shame, 0 misery ! how fiercely busy) are some in accomplishing designs of malice and revenge! How intent are some to overreach, to circumvent, to supplant their neighbor ! How sore pains will some take to seduce, corrupt, or debauch others! How active will some be in sowing strifes, in raising factions, in fomenting disorders in the world! How many industrious slaves hath the devil, who will spare no pains about any kind of work, which he putteth them to! How many
like those of whom the wise man saith, Their feet run to evil,' and are swift in running to mischief: they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall !'
Now with all these laborers we may well expostulate in the words of the prophet: “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not?'
Such labors are unworthy of men, much less do they beseem Christians.
It becometh us not as rational creatures to employ the excellent gifts of our nature, and noble faculties of our high-born soul, the forces of our mind, the advantages of our fortune, our precious time, our very care and labor, vainly or unprofitably on any thing base or mean : being that our reason is capable of achieving great and worthy things, we must debase it by stooping to regard toys, we do extremely abuse it by working mischief.
Much more doth it misbecome us as Christians (that is, persons devoted to so high a calling, who have so worthy employments assigned to us, so glorious hopes, so rich encouragements proposed to us for our work) to spend our thoughts and endeavors on things impertinent to our great design, or mainly thwarting it.
The proper matter and object of our industry (those false ones being excluded) is true business; or that which is incumbent on a man to do, either in way of duty, being required by God, or by dictate of reason, as conducing to some good purpose ; so that in effect it will turn to account, and finally in advantageous return will pay him for his labor of mind or body; that which the wise man did intend, when he advised, Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might;' whatever thy hand findeth, that is, whatever by divine appointment, (hy the command or providence of God,) or which, on rational deliberation, doth occur as matter of our action; comprising every good purpose and reasonable undertaking incident to us.
But our business, according to the holy A postle's intent, may be supposed especially to be the work of our calling; to which each man hath a peculiar obligation; and which there
fore is most properly his business, or y orovdn emphatically, the business allotted to him.
Now this business, our calling, is double; our general calling, which is common to us all as Christians, and our particular calling, which peculiarly belongeth to us, as placed in a certain station, either in the church or state. In both which vocations that we are much obliged and concerned to be industrious, shall be now my business to declare.
1. As to our general calling, (that sublime, that heavenly, that holy vocation,) in which by divine grace, according to the evangelical dispensation, we are engaged, that necessarily re-quireth and most highly deserveth from us a great measure of industry; the nature and design of it requireth, the fruit and result of it deserveth our utmost diligence; all sloth is inconsistent with discharging the duties, with enjoying the hopes, with obtaining the benefits thereof. For,
It is a state of continual work, and is expressed in terms importing abundant, incessant, intense care and pain; for to be indeed Christians, “We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling;' we must by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honor, and immortality.' We must 'walk worthy of the Lord, to all well-pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.' We must be rich in good works, and filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.' We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.'
We have a soul to save, and are appointed eis repitoinou owrnplas, to make an acquist of salvation.'
We have a mind to improve with virtue and wisdom, qualifying us for entrance into heaven, for enjoyment of God's favor, for conversation with angels.
As Christians we are assumed to be servants of God, and readmitted into his family, from which for our disloyalty we had been discarded ; so that as he was our natural Lord, so he is now such also by special grace; who did make us, who doth maintain us, under whose protection and at whose disposal we subsist; whence we are obliged to be faithfully diligent in his
service : we must constantly wait on him in devotional addresses; we must carefully study to know his pleasure; we must endeavor exactly to perform his will, and obey his commands; we must strive to advance his glory, to promote his interest, to improve all talents and advantages committed to us for those purposes; we must, as St. Paul expresseth it, always abound in the work of the Lord.'
We must also look on ourselves as servants of Christ our Redeemer; who by his blood hath purchased us to bimself, that we might be ' zealous of good works;' performing a service to him, which consisteth in a faithful discharge of manifold duties, and in pursuance of all virtue; with most irtent application of mind, with expedite promptitude, with accurate circumspection; "giving all diligence,' as St. Peter speaketh, in adding one virtue to another; being ready,' as St. Paul saith,' to every good work ;' and seeing that we walk circumspectly,' or behave ourselves exactly according to the rules of duty in all our conversation.
This service requireth of us assiduous attendance on works of piety and devotion ; that we do incessantly watch to prayer,' that we always give thanks,' that we continually do offer
up the sacrifice of praise to God.'
It demandeth from us a continual•labor of charity ;' that we 'serve one another in love;' that we should as we have opportunity, work good to all men,' that we should always pursue good toward one another, and toward all men.'
It obligeth us with all our powers to pursue peace with all men,' (which, considering our natural peevishness, pride, and perverseness, is often no easy task,) and that we do orovdá zelv, * studiously endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.'
It chargeth on us contentedly and patiently to undergo whatever God doth impose of burden or sufferance, so that .patience have its perfect work;' and it is a crabbed work to bend our stiff inclinations, to quell our refractory passions, to make our sturdy humor buckle thereto.
It doth exact that we should govern and regulate according to very strict and severe laws all the faculties of our soul, all the members of our body, all internal motions, and all external