Imágenes de páginas

diligence, fagacity, and foresight for the preservation of a life which must foon come to a final period ; instructs, reproves, and condemns those who, having all the advantages which are denied to her, are yet remiss and negligent in the great business assigned them : on which depend not their present interests only, but the interests and the life of their immortal spirits of their fpirits, which shall survive the dissolution of their bodies, and thall last through eternal ages.

These observations may be sufficient both to illustrate the meaning, and to show the propriety of Solomon's advice. Let me now, as the improvement of the subject, press you to reduce to practice the lessons which I have been considering. And for this end, I would represent to you,

[ocr errors]

If, Thạt the fluggard fins against the very nature which God hath given him. For what are all the high powers and faculties with which we are endowed, but so many ..tokens that we were formed for active serçiçe? The nature of things has evidently

[ocr errors]

in this respect the force of a law; since it is impossible to conceive, that powers and capacities were given us, which were not meant to be exerted and improved. Even in the state of innocence man had his talk assigned him, whilst the inferior animals were left to roam at large, without being accountable for their conduct. And as our natures are formed for action, so our inclination evidently prompts us to it. This is

plain from the various methods by which · those who will not labour endeavour to relieve

themselves from the oppressive load of idleness. Their time itself is a misery: and there is nothing so impertinent to which they will not fly, that they may be free of it. The burdens of the most laborious llaves are light, when compared with the burden which the pluggard carries about with him in an enfeebled body, and a vacant discontented

mind. :

2dly, The sluggard fins against the manifest design of Providence, God hath indeed made a liberal provision for the fupply of all our returning wants. But he hath done this in a way that requires in


dustry on our part, in order to render that provision effectual. - The earth, by the blefsing of God, is fruitful of herbs and grain for the use of man. But man must be careful to do his part in the labour of the field, that it may yield him a regular or a certain produce. The rough materials of all things necessary and convenient for the purposes of life are laid plentifully at our hands; but the skill and industry of the workman must bring them into form, and render them fit for use." All things are « full of labour.” Who then art thou, o fluggard, to counteract the designs both of Natúre and of Providence ?

· But fome may say, perhaps, We have nothing to do. Our wants are abundantly supplied from the patrimony which we have inherited ; and nothing remains for us but to enjoy' what we have. Do you then indeed believe, that any huinan being can have a right to live idle on the earth? If ye believe this, ye have yet to learn this fundamental principle of common sense, That all obligations are reciprocal. Ye fluggards, why cumber ye the ground ? Shall

: .: : .. . God

God give you all things richly to enjoy, and is there no active service which he requires of you? Must the labour of the husbandman nourish, and the art of the manufacturer clothe you? Must all ranks of men labour for your convenience ; and are there no obligations which ye are bound to discharge to them in return for so many, il and so important services ? For what end then do you live? Your being is an einbarrassment and burden to the creation. “ For if any man will not work, neither 15 should he eat."- Once more, in the

3d, place, The sluggard fins against the - great design of the Gospel. For we have

not only a Guide to instruct us, an Overfeer to observe us; and a Judge to whom :: we are accountable ; but we have also a great Redeemer, who shed his blood for the ransom of our souls, and who gave himself for us, not to purchase our release from duty, but to “ purify unto himself a pe's culiar people, zealous of good works.” Christ spoiled principalities and powers, " that we, being delivered out of the hands “ of our enemies, might serve him without :

“ fear,

[ocr errors]

6 fear, in holiness and righteousness before
“ him all the days of our lives.” Let us
hear and reverence the language of the Gof-
pel. “ Ye are not your own : ye are bought
its with a price : therefore glorify God in
* your body and in your fpirit, which are
“ God's. Work out your own salvation
“ with fear and trembling: for it is God
" that worketh in you, both to will and to
« do.of his good pleasure. And beside this,

“ giving all diligence, add to your faith vir-
is tue, and to virtue knowledge, and to

“ knowledge temperance, and to temperance “ patience, and to patience godliness, and to “ godliness brotherly kindness, and to bro166 therly kindness charity. For so an entrance « shall be ministered unto you abundantly, “ into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord 6 and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Let us then be no longer “ flothful in bu“ finess, but fervent in spirit; serving the * Lord." Amen.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »