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« dinances : I abstained from criminal gra“ tifications. Exempted by wealth from ” the necessity of labouring for subsistence; “ I consigned my hours to ease and amuse“ ment ?" You anticipate the answer Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnasiving of teeth.
Let not our investigations, my brethren, , be closed without some brief and practical remarks.
Consider with attention proportioned to the importance of the subject the universal obligation to labour. If you wish to withdraw your shoulder from the burthen ; sufpect the foundness of your Christian profefsion. For those whom you love, even at the desire of those whom you love, you delight to labour. Do
you love God, and loiter when he commands you to work for Him? What foever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might : for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goeft. Whatsoever ye do, do it beartily; as to the Lord, and not
God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which
bave Abewed towards His name. And we defire that every one of you do few the same diligence
to the full assurance of hope unto the end : that
ye be not Nothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (n).
Secondly. Be frequent in proposing to yourself the enquiry, “ What is my occu“ pation ?” Satisfy yourself, not merely that you are occupied, but that you are occupied in employments acceptable to God. To labour in trifles is not Chriftian occupation. To labour in sin is to labour for the devil. What numbers whom the sun rising and setting beholds in an unceasing hurry of occupation, shall appear at the hour of account to have been worse than idle! What numbers whose la. bours, highly useful to their friends or to their country, have filled the mouth of the world with praise, shall stand convicted in the hour of account as having never laboured for God! What doest thou here, Elijah? was the question of Jehovah to his prophet, who had relinquished in a moment of alarm the proper
scene of his labours. Under every circumstance regard this question as addressed in conjunction with the former to yourself. Is this the place of duty ? Is this the labour of duty ? Are you labouring for (n) Eccl. ix. 6. Col. iii. 23. Hebr. vi. 10-12. P4
the Most High? Are you labouring in your appointed course?
Thirdly. Would you labourefficaciously? Remember whose is the strength in which you
must labour. Trust not in an arm of flesh. Lean not to thiné own understanding. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Not by might, not by power; but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hofts. Through Christ who strengtheneth thee, thou mayest do all things. Without Him thou canst do nothing (0).
Fourthly. Be vigilant, be humble, be devout, in guarding through the all-sufficient grace of your Redeemer against those snares and forms of sin which attach themselves to your occupation. Be'fortified against its toils, its pleasures, its rewards, its disappointments. When under the garb of avarice, or of pride, or of ambition, or of sensuality, or of self-complacency, or of discontent, Satan lays claim to your heart; What is your reply? I ferue the Lord Christ.
Finally: In the spirit of Him whose meat and drink it was to do the will of his Father, accustom yourself to regard enjoyment as
(o) Eph. vi. 10. Zech. iv. 6. Philipp. iv. 13, John,
consisting in the performance of duty. By multitudes, duty and pleasure are beheld as distinct; as drawing in opposite directions: duty, toiling in one quarter, and summoning to an irksome talk , pleasure smiling in an adverse region, and inviting to compensatory gratification. He, and he alone, whom Christianity enables to identify them, possesses the secret of virtue and happiness.
On the Necessity of unreserved Obedience.
JAMES ii. 10. Whosoever fall keep the whole law, and get
offend in one point, be is guilty of all.
O some persons it has been a subject of
unreasonable surprise, that the Scriptures should contain passages apparently of dark and ambiguous import. All the works, all the appointments of God, abound with difficulties. The nature of the air which you breathe, the properties of the foil on which
you tread, the growth of the plants and animals by which you are suftained, exceed your comprehension. In the common dispensations of Providence, in the moral government of the world, there is much which is obscure to the li.