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nal; that he neither lives to God; nor lives to the world; nor lives to himself.
I. He lives not to God. The great and wise Creator certainly does nothing in vain. A small measure of reflection might convince every one, that for some useful purpose he was sent into the world. The nature of man bears no mark of insignificancy, or neglect. He is placed at the head of all things here below. He is furnished with a great preparation of faculties and powers. He is enlightened by reason with many important discoveries; even taught by revelation to consider himself as ransomed, by the death of Christ, from misery; and intended to rise, by gradual advances, to a still higher rank in the universe of God. In such a situation, thus distinguished, thus favoured and assisted by his Creator, can he hope to be forgiven, if he aim at no improvement, if he pursue no useful design, live for no other purpose but to indulge in sloth, consume the fruits of the earth, and to spend his days in a dream of vanity? Existence is a sacred trust; and he who thus misemploys and squanders it away, is treacherous to its Author.-Look around you, and you will behold the whole universe full of active powers. Action is, to speak so, the ge
nius of nature. By motion and exertion, the system of being is preserved in vigour. By its different parts always acting in subordination one to another, the perfection of the whole is carried on. The heavenly bodies perpetually revolve. Day and night incessantly repeat their appointed course. Continual operations are going on in the earth, and in the waters. Nothing stands still. All is alive and stirring throughout the universe. -In the midst of this animated and busy scene is man alone to remain idle in his place? Belongs it to him, to be the sole inactive and slothful being in the creation, when he has so much allotted him to do; when in so many various ways he might improve his own nature; might advance the glory of the God who made him, and contribute his part to the general good?
Hardly is there any feeling of the human heart more natural, or more universal, than that of our being accountable to God. It is what the most profligate can never totally erase. Almost all nations have agreed in the belief, that there is to come some period when the Almighty will act as the Judge of his creaPresentiments of this, work in every breast. Conscience has already erected a tribunal, on which it anticipates the sentence
which at that period shall be passed. Before this tribunal let us sometimes place ourselves in serious thought, and consider what account we are prepared to give of our conduct to Him who made us. "I placed you," the great Judge may then be supposed to say, "in
a station where you had many occasions for "action, and many opportunities of improve66 ment. You were taught, and you knew your duty. Throughout a course of years, "I continued your life. I surrounded you "with friends to whom you might be useful. 66 I gave you health, ease, leisure, and various "advantages of situation. Where are the "fruits of those talents which you possessed? "What good have you done with them to
yourselves? What good to others? How "have you filled up your place or answered your destination in the world? Produce some evidence of your not having existed "altogether in vain.". Let such as are now mere blanks in the world, and a burden to the earth, think what answer they will give to those awful questions.
II. The idle live not to the world and their fellow creatures around them, any more than they do to God. Had any man a title to stand alone, and to be independent of his fellows,
he might then consider himself at liberty to indulge in solitary ease and sloth, without being responsible to others for the manner in which he chose to live. But on the face of the earth there is no such person, from the king on his throne, to the beggar in his cottage. We are all connected with one another by various relations; which create a chain of mutual dependence, reaching from the highest to the lowest station in society. The order and happiness of the world cannot be maintained, without perpetual circulation of active duties and offices, which all are called upon to perform in their turn. Superiors are no more independent of their inferiors, than these inferiors are of them. Each have demands and claims upon the other; and he, who, in any situation of life, refuses to act his part, and to contribute his share to the general stock of felicity, deserves to be proscribed from society as an unworthy member. If any man will not work, says the Apostle Paul, neither should he eat. * If he will do nothing to advance the purposes of society, he has no title to enjoy the advantages of it.
It is sometimes supposed, that industry and diligence are duties required of the poor alone,
* 2 Thess. iii. 10.
and that riches confer the privilege of being idle. This is so far from being justified by reason, how often soever it may obtain in fact, that the higher one is raised in the world, his obligation to be useful is proportionably increased. The claims upon him from various quarters multiply. The sphere of his active duties widens on every hand. Even supposing him exempted from exerting himself in behalf of his inferiors, supposing the relation between superiors and inferiors abolished, the relation among equals must still subsist. If there be no man, however high in rank, who stands not frequently in need of the good offices of his friends, does he think that he owes nothing to them in return? Can he fold his arms in selfish indolence, and expect to be served by others, if he will not exert himself in doing service to any ?-Were there no other call to industry, but the relation in which every one stands to his own family, the remembrance of this alone should make the man of idleness blush. Pretends he to love those with whom he is connected by the dearest ties, and yet will he not bestir himself for their guidance, their support, or their advancement in the world?-How immoral, and cruel, is the part he acts, who slumbers in sensual ease, while the wants and demands of a help