Imatges de pÓgina

bour must be as the labour of a traveller, which is all for his journey's end; and all your respect or affection to any place or thing in your way, must be in respect to your attainment of the end; as a traveller loveth a good way, a good horse, a good inn, a dry cloak, or good company; but nothing must be loved here as your end or home. Lift up your hearts to heaven and say, 'If this work and way did not tend thither directly or indirectly, it were no work or way for me.' Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


Direct. VIII. Follow the labours of your calling painfully and diligently.' From hence will follow many commodities. 1. You will shew that you are not sluggish, and servants to your flesh, as those that cannot deny its ease; and will further the mortification of all fleshly lusts and desires, which are fed by ease and idleness. 2. You will keep out idle thoughts from your mind, which swarm in the minds of idle persons. 3. You will escape the loss of precious time, which idle persons are daily guilty of. 4. You will be in a course of obedience to God, when the slothful are in a constant sin of omission. 5. You may have the more time to spare for holy exercises, if you follow your labour close when you are at it; when idle persons can have no time for prayer or reading, because they lose it by loitering at their work, and leave their business still behind-hand. 6. You may expect God's blessing for the comfortable provision for yourselves and families, and to have to give to them that need, when the slothful are in want themselves, and cast by their want into abundance of temptations, and have nothing to do good with. 7. And it will also tend to the health of your bodies, which will make them the fitter for the service of your souls. When slothfulness wasteth time, and health, and estate, and wit, and grace, and alla.


Direct. Ix. Be throughly acquainted with your corruptions and temptations, and watch against them all the day; especially the most dangerous sort of your corruptions, and those temptations which your company or business will unavoidably lay before you. Be still watching and working

a Ephes. iv. 28. Prov. x. 4. xii. 24. 27. xiii. 4. xxi. 5. xxii. 29. xviii. 9. xxi. 25. xxiv. 30.

b Antequam domo quis exeat, quid acturus sit, apud se pertractat. Rursus cum redierit, quid egerit, recogitet. Cleobulus in Diog. Laert. lib. i. sect. 92. p. 57.

against the master, radical sins of unbelief, hypocrisy, selfish-
ness, pride, sensuality, or fleshpleasing, and the inordinate
love of earthly things. Take heed, lest under pretence of
diligence in your calling, you be drawn to earthly-minded-
ness, and excessive cares or covetous designs for rising in
the world. If you are to trade or deal with others, take
heed of selfishness, which desireth to draw or save from
others, as much as you can for yourselves and your own ad-
vantage; take heed of all that savoureth of injustice or un-
charitableness in all your dealings with others. If you con-
verse with vain-talkers, be still provided against the tempta-
tion of vanity of talk. If you converse with angry persons,
be still fortified against their provocations. If you converse
with wanton persons, or such as are tempting those of the
other sex, maintain that modesty and necessary distance
and cleanness of speech which the laws of chastity require.
you have servants that are still faulty, be so provided
against the temptation, that their faults may not make you
faulty, and you may do nothing that is unseemly or unjust,
but only that which tendeth to their amendment. If you are
poor, be still provided against the temptations of poverty,
that it bring not upon you an evil far greater than itself.
If you are rich, be most diligent in fortifying your hearts
against those more dangerous temptations of riches, which
very few escape.
If you converse with flatterers or those
that much admire you, be fortified against swelling pride.
If you converse with those that despise and injure you, be
fortified against impatient, revengeful pride. These works
at first will be very difficult, while sin is in any strength;
but when you have got an habitual apprehension of the poi-
sonous danger of every one of these sins, and of the tenden-
cy of all temptations, your hearts will readily and easily
avoid them, without much tiring, thoughtfulness, and care;
even as a man will pass by a house infected with the plague,
or go out of the way if he meet a cart or any thing that would
hurt him.

Direct. x. When you are alone in your labours, improve the time in practical, fruitful (not speculative and barren) meditations: especially in heart-work and heavenwork' let your chiefest meditations be on the infinite goodness and perfections of God, and the life of glory, which in

[merged small][ocr errors]

the love and praise of him, you must live for ever: and next let Christ and the mysteries of grace in man's redemption, be the matter of your thoughts: and next that your own hearts and lives, and the rest before expressed, Chap. xvi. Direct. 6. If you are able to manage meditations methodically it will be best; but if you cannot do that, without so much striving as will confound you, and distract you, and cast you into melancholy, it is better let your meditations be more short and easy, like ejaculatory prayers; but let them usually be operative to do some good upon your hearts.


Direct. xI. If you labour in company with others, be provided with matter, skill, resolution, and zeal, to improve the time in profitable conference, and to avoid diversions,' as is directed, Chap. xvi.


Direct. x11. Whatever you are doing, in company or alone, let the day be spent in the inward excitation and exercise of the graces of the soul, as well as in external bodily duties.' And to that end know, that there is no external duty, but must have some internal grace to animate it, or else it is but an image or carcase, and unacceptable to God. When you are praying and reading, there are the graces of faith, desire, love, repentance, &c. to be exercised there: when you are alone, meditation may help to actuate any grace as you find most needful: when you are conferring with others, you must exercise love to them, and love to that truth about which you do confer, and other graces as the subject shall require: when you are provoked or under suffering, you have patience to exercise. But especially it must be your principal daily business, by the exercise of faith, to keep your hearts warm in the love of God and your dear Redeemer, and in the hopes and delightful thoughts of heaven. As the means are various and admit of deliberation and choice, because they are to be used but as means, and not all at once, but sometimes one and sometimes another, when the end is still the same and past deliberation or choice; so all those graces which are but means must be used thus variously, and with deliberation and choice; when the love of God and of eternal life must be the constant tenor and constitution of the mind, as being the final grace, which consisteth with the exercise of every other mediate grace. Never take up with lip-labour or bodily exercise

[ocr errors]

alone, nor barren thoughts, unless your hearts be also employed in a course of duty, and holy breathings after God, or motion towards him, or in the sincere internal part of the duty which you perform to men: Justice and Love are graces which you must still exercise towards all that you have to deal with in the world. Love is called the fulfilling of the law, because the Love of God and man is the soul of every outward duty, and a cause that will bring forth. these as its effects.

Direct. XIII. Keep up a high esteem of time; and be every day more careful that you lose none of your time, than you are that you lose none of your gold or silver: and if vain recreations, dressings, feastings, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep, be any of them temptations to rob you of any of your time, accordingly heighten your watchfulness and firm resolutions against them.' Be not more careful to escape thieves and robbers, than to escape that person or action, or course of life, that would rob you of any of your time. And for the redeeming of time, especially see, not only that you be never idle, but also that you be doing the greatest good that you can do, and prefer not a less before a greater.

Direct. XIV. Eat and drink with temperance, and thankfulness for health and not for unprofitable pleasure.' For quantity, most carefully avoid excess; for many exceed, for one that taketh too little. Never please your appetite in meat or drink, when it tendeth to the detriment of your health. "It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink.-— Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts d." "Woe to thee, O land when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness." Then must poorer men also take heed of intemperance and excess. Let your diet incline rather to the coarser than the finer sort, and to the cheaper than the costly sort, and to sparing abstinence than to fulness. I would advise rich men especially, to write in great letters on the walls of their dining rooms or parlours these two sentences: BEHOLD THIS


e Rom. xiii. 10.

d Prov. xxxi. 4. 6.

Eccles. x. 16, 17.

[ocr errors]

WAS THE INIQUITY OF SODOM; PRIDE, FULNESS OF BREAD, AND ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS WAS IN HER, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy f." "There was a ertain ich man which was CLOTHED IN PURPLE AND SILK AND

FARED SUMPTUOUSLY every day.-- Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things "." Paul wept when he mentioned them, "whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things, being enemies to the cross O live not after the flesh, lest ye die i."

h 22

Direct. xv. If any temptation prevail against you, and you fall into any sins besides common infirmities, presently lament it, and confess not only to God, but to men, when confession conduceth more to good than harm; and rise by a true and thorough repentance, immediately without delay.' Spare not the flesh, and daub not over the breach, and do not by excuses palliate the sore, but speedily rise whatever it cost for it will certainly cost you more to go on or to remain impenitent. And for your ordinary infirmities, make not too light of them, but confess them, and daily strive against them; and examine what strength you get against them, and do not aggravate them by impenitence and contempt.

Direct. XVI. Every day look to the special duties of your several relations' whether you are husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, pastors, people, magistrates, subjects, remember that every relation hath its special duty, and its advantage for the doing of some good; and that God requireth your faithfulness in these, as well as in any other duty. And that in these a man's sincerity or hypocrisy is usually more tried, than in any other parts of our lives.

[ocr errors]

f Ezek. xvi. 49.
h Phil. iii. 11, 19.
i Rom. viii. 13.

Direct. XVII. In the evening return to the worshipping of God, in the family and in secret as was directed for the morning.' And do all with seriousness as in the sight of God, and in the sense of your necessities; and make it your

g Luke xvi. 19.25.

See Dr. Hammond's Annotat.
Gal. vi. 8. v. 21. 23, 24.

« AnteriorContinua »