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Our great example, the life of our blessed Lord himself, what was it but one continual exercise of labour ? His mind did ever stand bent in careful attention, studying to do good. His body was ever moving in wearisome travel to the same divine intent.
If we yet soar farther in our meditation to the superior regions, we shall there find the blessed inhabitants of heaven, the courtiers and ministers of God, very busy and active; they do vigilantly wait on God's throne in readiness to receive and to despatch his commands ; they are ever on the wing, and fly about like lightning “ to do his pleasure.” They are attentive to our needs, and ever ready to protect, to assist, to relieve us! Especially, they are diligent guardians and succourers of good men; "officious spirits, sent forth to minister for the heirs of salvation :” so even the seat of perfect rest is no place of idleness.
Yea, God himself, although immov
ably and infinitely happy, is yet immensely careful and everlastingly busy ; he rested once from that great work of creation; but yet “ My Father,” saith our Lord, “ worketh still;" and he never will rest from his works of providence and of grace.
His eyes continue watchful over the world, and his hands stretched out in upholding it. He hath a singular regard to every creature, supplying the needs of each, and “ satisfying the desires of all.”
And shall we alone be idle, while all things are so busy? Shall we keep our hands in our bosom, or stretch ourselves on our beds of laziness, while all the world about us is hard at work in pursuing the designs of its creation? Shall we be wanting to ourselves, while so many things labour for our benefit ? Shall not such a cloud of examples stir us to some industry?
Not to comply with so universal a practice, to cross all the world, to disagree with every crea
ture, is it not very monstrous and extravagant ?
I shall close all this discourse with that at which, in pitching on this subject, I chiefly did aim, an application exhortatory to ourselves, urging the practice of this virtue by considerations peculiar to us as scholars, and derived from the nature of our calling. But the doing this requiring a larger discourse than the time now will allow of, I shall reserve it to another occasion; adding only one consideration more.
13. Lastly, if we consider, we shall find the root and source of all the inconveniences, the mischiefs, the wants of which we are so apt to complain, to be our sloth ; and that there is hardly any of them, which commonly we might not easily prevent or remove by industry. Why is any man a beggar, why contemptible, why ignorant, why vicious, why miserable? Why, but for this one reason, because he is slothful; because
he will not labour to rid himself of those evils ? What could we want, if we, would but take the pains to seek it, either by our industry, or by our devotion? For where the first will not do, the second cannot fail to procure any good thing from him, who giveth “ to all men liberally,” and hath promised to supply the defect of our ability by his free bounty; so that if we join these two industries (industrious action, and industrious prayer), there is nothing in the world so good, or so great, of which, if we are capable, we may not assuredly become masters; and even for industry itself, especially in the performance of all our duties towards God, let us industriously pray: even so, “ The God of peace sanctify us wholly, and make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in his sight; through our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom for ever be all glory and praise.” Amen.
IN OUR GENERAL CALLING, AS CHRISTIANS.
Rom. xii. 11.
Not slothful in Business.
Industry is a very eminent virtue, being an ingredient, or the parent, of all other virtues, of constant use upon all occasions, and having influence upon all our affairs.
For it is in our nature framed; all our powers of soul and body being fitted for it, tending to it, requiring it for their preservation and perfection.
We were designed for it in our first happy state; and upon our lapse thence