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God's peculiar favors, to pay God all due obedience, and to exercise himself in all good works; disobedience being a more heinous crime in him than in others, who have not such encouragements to serve God.
His obedience may be inculcated by those arguments which Joshua and Samuel did use in pressing it on the Israelites: Only,' said Samuel, fear the Lord, and serve him in truth: for consider how great things God hath done for you.' And, I have given you,' saith God by Joshua, 'a land for which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not; and ye dwell in them: of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not, do ye eat. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth.'
His disobedience may be aggravated, as Nehemiah did that of the Israelites: They took strong cities and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance; so they did eat and were filled, and became fat; and delighted themselves in thy great goodness: nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs.' They have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness, which thou gavest them; neither turned they from their wicked works.'
A gentleman hath more talents committed to him, and consequently more employment required of him: if a rustic laborer, or a mechanic artisan, hath one talent, a gentleman hath ten; he hath innate vigor of spirit, and height of courage fortified by use; he hath accomplishment and refinement of parts by liberal education; he hath the succors of parentage, alliance, and friendship; he hath wealth, he hath honor, he hath power and authority, he hath command of time and leisure; he hath so many precious and useful talents intrusted to him, not to be wrapped up in a napkin,' or hidden under ground; not to be squandered away in private satisfactions; but for negotiation, to be put out to use, to be improved in the most advantageous way to God's service. Every talent doth require a particular care and pains to manage it well.
He particularly is God's steward, intrusted with God's substance for the sustenance and supply of God's family; to re
lieve his fellow-servants in their need, on seasonable occasions, by hospitality, mercy, and charitable beneficence; according to that intimation of our Lord, Who is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler of his household, to give them their portion and meat in due season?' And according to those apostolical precepts, As every one hath received a gift, (or special favor,) even so minister the same to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God :' and, Charge the rich in this world,-that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.'
And he that is obliged to purvey for so many, and so to abound in good works, how can he want business? How can he pretend to a writ of ease?
Surely that gentleman is very blind, and very barren of invention, who is to seek for work fit for him, or cannot easily discern many employments belonging to him, of great concern and consequence.
It is easy to prompt and show him many businesses, indispensably belonging to him, as such.
It is his business to minister relief to his poor neighbors, in their wants and distresses, by his wealth. It is his business to direct and advise the ignorant, to comfort the afflicted, to reclaim the wicked, and encourage the good, by his wisdom. It is his business to protect the weak, to rescue the oppressed, to ease those who groan under heavy burdens, by his power; to be such a gentleman and so employed as Job was; who did not eat his morsel alone, so that the fatherless did not eat thereof:' who did not withhold the poor from their desire, or cause the eyes of the widow to fail;' who did not see any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering :' who delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.'
It is his business to be hospitable; kind and helpful to strangers; following those noble gentlemen, Abraham and Lot, who were so ready to invite and entertain strangers with bountiful courtesy.
It is his business to maintain peace, and appease dissensions among his neighbors, interposing his counsel and authority in
order thereto whereto he hath that brave gentlemen, Moses, recommended for his pattern.
It is his business to promote the welfare and prosperity of his country with his best endeavors, and by all his interest; in which practice the sacred History doth propound divers gallant gentleman (Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Nehemiah, Daniel, Mordecai, and all such renowned patriots) to guide him.
It is his business to govern his family well; to educate his children in piety and virtue; to keep his servants in good order.
It is his business to look to his estate, and to keep it from wasting; that he may sustain the repute of his person and quality with decency; that he may be furnished with ability to do good, may provide well for his family, may be hospitable, may have wherewith to help his brethren; for if, according to St. Paul's injunction, a man should work with his own hands, that he may have somewhat to impart to him that needeth,' then must he that hath an estate be careful to preserve it, for the same good purpose.
It is his business to cultivate his mind with knowlege, with generous dispositions, with all worthy accomplishments befitting his condition, and qualifying him for honorable action; so that he may excel, and bear himself above the vulgar level, no less in real inward worth, than in exterior garb; that he be not a gentleman merely in name or show.
It is his business (and that no slight or easy business) to eschew the vices, to check the passions, to withstand the temptations, to which his condition is liable; taking heed that his wealth, honor, and power do not betray him unto pride, insolence, or contempt of his poorer brethren; unto injustice or oppression; unto luxury and riotous excess; unto sloth, stupidity, forgetfulness of God, and irreligious profaneness.
It is a business especially incumbent on him to be careful of his ways, that they may have good influence on others, who are apt to look on him as their guide and pattern.
He should labor and study to be a leader unto virtue, and a notable promoter thereof; directing and exciting men thereto by his exemplary conversation; encouraging them by his countenance and authority; rewarding the goodness of meaner peo
ple by his bounty and favor: he should be such a gentleman as Noah, who preached righteousness by his words and works before a profane world.
Such particular affairs hath every person of quality, credit, wealth, and interest, allotted to him by God, and laid on him as duties; the which to discharge faithfully, will enough employ a man, and doth require industry, much care, much pains; excluding sloth and negligence: so that it is impossible for a sluggard to be a worthy gentleman, virtuously disposed, a charitable neighbor, a good patriot, a good husband of his estate; any thing of that, to which God, by setting him in such a station, doth call him.
Thus is a gentleman obliged to industry in respect of God, who justly doth exact those labors of piety, charity, and all virtue from him. Farther,
2. He hath also obligations to mankind, demanding industry from him, on accounts of common humanity, equity, and ingenuity; for,
How can he fairly subsist on the common industry of mankind, without bearing a share thereof? How can he well satisfy himself to dwell statelily, to feed daintily, to be finely clad, to maintain a pompous retinue, merely on the sweat and toil of others, without himself rendering a compensation, or making some competent returns of care and pain, redounding to the good of his neighbor?
How can he justly claim, or reasonably expect from the world the respect agreeable to his rank, if he doth not by worthy performances conduce to the benefit of it? Can men be obliged to regard those, from whom they receive no good?
If no gentleman be tied to serve the public, or to yield help in sustaining the common burdens, and supplying the needs of mankind, then is the whole order merely a burden, and an offence to the world; a race of drones, a pack of ciphers in the commonwealth, standing for nothing, deserving no consideration or regard and if any are bound, then all are; for why should the whole burden lie on some, while others are exempted?
It is indeed supposed that all are bound thereto, seeing that all have recompenses publicly allowed to them on such consi
derations; divers respects and privileges peculiar to the order, grounded on this supposition, that they deserve such advantages by conferring notable benefit to the public; the which indeed it were an arrogance to seek, and an iniquity to accept for doing nothing.
It is an insufferable pride for any man to pretend or conceit himself to differ so much from his brethren, that he may be allowed to live in ease and sloth, while the rest of mankind are subject to continual toil and trouble. Moreover,
3. A gentleman is bound to be industrious for his own sake; it is a duty which he oweth to himself, to his honor, to his interest, to his welfare. He cannot without industry continue like himself, or maintain the honor and repute becoming his quality and state, or secure himself from contempt and disgrace; for to be honorable and slothful are things inconsistent, seeing honor doth not grow, nor can subsist without undertaking worthy designs, constantly pursuing them, and happily achieving them; it is the fruit and reward of such actions, which are not performed with ease.
External respect and a semblance of honor, for the sake of public order, may be due to an exterior rank or title: but to pay this, is not to honor the person, but his title; because it is supposed that men of real worth and use do bear it; or lest, by refusing it to one, the whole order may seem disrespected: but yet true honor, or mental esteem, is not due on such accounts; nor is it possible to render it unto any person, who doth not by worthy qualities and good deeds appear to merit it.
Nor can a gentleman without industry uphold his real interests against the attempts of envy, of treachery, of flattery, of sycophantry, of avarice, to which his condition is obnoxious: to preserve his wealth and estate, which are the supports of his quality, he must endure care and pains; otherwise he will by greedy harpies and crafty lurchers be rifled or cozened of his substance; it will of itself go to wreck, and be embezzled by negligence.
He cannot without industry guard his personal welfare from manifold inconveniences, molestations, and mischiefs; idleness itself will be very troublesome and irksome to him. His time will lie on his hands, as a pestering incumbrance. His mind