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the royal psalmist of Israel employed in the worship of God; those facred fervors, running through all his divine compofitions, that continue to animate the devotion of good men in every age. Let not the strength of your passions, then, or the vivacity of your sensibilities to pleasure, make you despair of attaining to a new life, or even of reaching the summits of virtue. Enter speedily, and in earnest on the arduous labour. And in this, as in every other duty, the promise of God will ftill remain to be your consolation, and your aid, “my grace is sufficient for you.” .
Romans X11. 11.
Not Slothful in Business. THE law of Christ not only reaches to
1 the principles of conduct in the heart, but extends to the whole detail of our active duties. Among these it inculcates induftry, and diligence in business, not only by many direct precepts, but by the allusions and images which it employs to characterize the christian life. It represents it as an arduous conflict, as an active race, as a state of incessant labour and vigilance.
Some weak or superstitious minds have imagined that all this ardor is to be employed only in devotion, and those duties that terminate immediately upon God, while they suppose it hardly respects the affairs of civil, of social, or domestic life. On the other hand, justice, charity, sobriety, industry are essential and important duties of the christian law. In the order of life, indeed, they form the most numerous class of our duties, men have the most constant use for them, they are most directly related to the general interest and felicity of the world, which is the great end of the divine government. Activity and diligence in the affairs of life may, it is true, proceed from improper motives, and be directed to improper ends. Men may be diligent in the business of the world, and yet be destitute of the grace of God: but, it may be laid down as an immutable truth in religion that no one can be a good man who is not industrious in some useful calling.
Industry is the virtue of which I purpose to treat on the present occasion; in doing which I shall point out both its necellity, and its advantages.
It is required of us by God-it is rendered necessary by our relations to society-it is requisite to the improvement of our own nature-it is intimately connected with other virtues--and it is indispensable to the best enjoyment of life. Each of these ideas I shall explain and extend a little before I apply the subject to the chief design of our present meeting
I. In the first place, it is required of us by God. This appears not only from his . holy word, but from the whole fabric and order of the universe, and from the organization and structure of our own nature, which are his work. Wherever he manifests his power, all things are full of movement and energy. The mighty orbs that compose the universal system wheel on in an incessant course, and preserve unbroken the order of day and night, of seed time and harvest. Every atom is in motion, and is perpetually assuming new forms of being. That man might not be idle, his Creator hath furnished him with a vast assemblage of astonishing powers, fitted for an immense variety of uleful ends, and which indeed can be preserved in a sound state and brought to the perfection for which they were evidently intended, only by employment and exercise. When we see a constant and beneficent activity every where established by God in the constitution of nature, it is an indication of his will too clear and unambiguous to be misunderstood even by the most careless observer. Were the powers with which man is endued given by him in vain? Shall we suffer them to rust in our poffeffion, and thereby frustrate the benevolent designs of the Creator ? The opportunity and the means of doing good either to ourselves or others, as they are bestowed by him, and are the indications of his will, point out to us a sacred law of duty. As long as any good end can be answered by our activity, and that is as long as we exist, we are under inviolable obligations to industry.
The same spirit breathes throughout the word of God. Diligence in some useful business is represented as essential to the character of a good man. The apostle, in his instructions to Timothy hath said, “ if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” In describing the character of those widows