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That indeed is all the Honour that the idle Gent tleman deserves, and should he be served as he deserves too, we should quickly be rid of him: For; faith the Apostle. 2 Thef. 3. 10. If any Man, will not work, neither let him eat. Nothing of this is said to abridge Gentlemen in any Gentile Recreation, which is innocent, or to rob them of any Honour or Respect due unto the Place and Rank they are fer in, but only to let them una derstand how they are to deserve their Honour and Wealth, and other advantages; and what use they are to make of them, that they may not be the worse for them.
I cannot dig, faith this wicked Steward, and so say many more. But let them well consider what they say. Is it true; or is it false, that they cannot? God, 'tis certain, hath made it every one's Duty, that hath Health and Ability of Body or Mind, to Work and Labour as he hath fitted him, and calld him to it. If then there be strength, there can be no excusing our felves on any Account, unless it be want of Opportunity, which I think no Man can want long, the Nes cessities of Mankind which call for it, are so very many. If then such Persons Work not, it must be either pride or Noth that hinders them; and which of them foever it be, it is their fin. Some will say, it may be, that it is Disuse has made it tos hard for them. And what is that but to pleid their former Idleness in Excuse of their present I. dleness? For why did they not use themselves to it? What Warrant had they to spend any part of their time vainly? Our Disuse of what is our Duty is our Sin, and if we now be made to suffer for it, 'cis juft, and we have no cause at all to com
alene har Warrant haur Disuse of
plain. That which we have made hard through our Negligence, and never using our selves to it, is very fic now to be imposed upon us, that the Hardhip which we our felves have occafion’d, may be fome Punishment for our Laziness. Who should pitty us, if we go groaning under a Load which had not had any heaviness more than we had Strength for, had not we our selves made it too heavy for us. Was it not our Luxury and Sloth which decay'd our Strength? Have we noc weaken'd our felves by intemperance? Have we eat, and drunk, and slept into such a grossness both of Body and Mind,that we have madeourselves unfit for any Service of God or Man? How many of us devour, at this rate, even all the good things we were once poffess'd, eating up their Strength, and drinking up their Underitanding and Memory, and Conscience, so that they leave themselves nothing either of Soul or Body to work withal. Such Persons indeed cannot Work, and if they meer with no Charity from others, they deserve as little as they find. If they find any, tho' it may be a Duty in others to afford it them, yet is it fo only because God hath commanded it, not because they have deserved it..
. But the vain Man, when he hath by his vanity reduced hiinself to Poverty, is as much ashamed tớ beg, as he is unable to dig. To beg, (faith he) I am ashamed. And so indeed he hath reafon enough to be, considering how he comes to ftand in need of Begging. But that seems to be least of any thing considered by him, and is not the thing he is a shamed of. Such Men have, by the custom of Ginning, too hard Faces to blush for 2ny Sin, be it never lo shameful. It is no shame to beg, or to be relieved by the Charity of others; it is the way of sublifting, that God allowech the Poor and Needy, and both by his Command hath he made Provision for them, and by his Promise he hath encourag'd them to rely upon it, It is indeed, a shame for him that can Labour, by Begging, to abuse the Charity of good Men, and to rob the truly Needy, of his Due; and 'ris also a shame to make one's self a Beggar, and to be by his sin in a craving, when by doing his Duty, he might have been in a giving Condition. Sloth or Prodigallity, Idleness and Waste, will, when things are well examined, be found to have caus'd more Beggery in the World than any thing else, and I believe of all the Beggars we havė, and they are by much too many, tor one who hath been made a Beggar by any other means, we may find three who have made themselves so by sloth and wastefulness, and the efore ought indeed to be ashamed of cheir sin, but not of the just punishment of it; this should be born with all humble fubmission, and that confeled, and repented of with much Shame and Grief. But such Men as this unjust Sreward have been used to a Life, which have taught them to be ashamed of nothing but Living gentilely, that is, wastingly and vainly." And if they fay, they are ashamed to beg, chö'they say truly, by their biing ashamed, we are not to understand iheir Mcdesty, but their Pride. ::
I shall here only defire we would take notice of the two great Rubs and Stumbling blocks in our Way of Duty, and Living Religiously, and these are Difficulty and Shame. We are generally either too Lazy, or too. Proud, to do what our
Great Lord and Mafter commands us. 'Tis hard says one, and I cannot do it. 'Tis mean and disgraceful, says another, and I am ashamed to: do it. Some Duties call for too much pains, and others for too inuch Humility, and we are too idle to do those, and too proud to stoop to these. And hence it is, that we think we have a sufficient Apology and Excuse for our vainful and sin, ful Course of Life. Every sin palleth with us for a Sin of Iofirmity, and it must be thought above our strength to do otherwise, and on that Account a very venial Sin, which will easily be forgiven. When indeed all is no more but a difficulty, and that such as we have made to our felves, by giving way so long to our sinful Humors and Lufts, till they have got the Mastery of us, and are grown into confirm'd Habits, and now require more pains to break them off, than we can endure to bestow upon them. Or else our Sins are fashionable, and we do no other thing in praEtising them, than what we see moft Men, who are accounted Persons of any Note in the World usually do. And should we do otherwise, we should be laughid at as too precise, and affecting Singularity, or as 'those who want Breeding, yea, and common Civility; and this we are ashamed of; Pride will not suffer us to bear such a Reproach, tho' it be only for obeying God, rather than Men; and for being more desirous of the Testimony of a good Conscience, thao of a Reputation amongit them, who seek the Praise of Men, more than that which is of God only.
what a wretched thing is Man become, thač can do nothing but fin, and is ashamed of every Thing, but that which alone is shame
ful, that is, to dishonour God, and ruin himself!
We have before said, that we, every one of us are Srewards to God for every thing we have, and that we shall find, upon Examination of our selves, that we have been great Walters too of the Goods committed to our care. That we must give an Account to God of the use that we have made of every thing; and we are apt to be too forgetful of this; that God however is nor hafty with us, but several times gives us warning, that the Time of our Stewardship, draws near an end, and to see that we have our Accounts ready a. gainst that Time come. And now let us suppose that the Habirual Sinner, who hath lived loolly, and been wasting all upon his Lofts, which God gave him for better Ufes, hath received his last Call to make ready his Accounts, that he is now in his last sickness, and that with in a few Days he must die. Suppose we, I say, that he is sensible of this, and consider it; will he not be in greater perplexity and trouble, than the Unjust Sreward is here faid to have been in? Will not his Conscience then awakened by the present apprehension of Death, suggest unto him very melancholy Thoughts? Whether he be able or willing to speak out, and discover his Troubles of Soul to those that are about him or no, will he not cry within himself---What shall I do? Whither am I now going? What Course thall I now take, that I may depart comfortably and safely out of this World? I see there's no staying for me any longer here, my Lord taketh from me che Stewardship, and I must be turned naked, as I was born, out of this world. And what now