« ElőzőTovább »
** sents itself* of doing good to thyself *.' or others, whether in the employments u of the body or the mind, and improve u it to the best advantage. Nor vainly w imagine-, that any rank or situation can "exempt thee from discharging the comu mon duties of humanity; All have ** freely received their powers of some u kind or other, and therefore all must *' contribute their share towards the "movement of the great machine of the ** universe/'
The employments indeed of life, from •* the nature and necessities of human society^ will always be as various as the changes and chances of it; Some men are doomed to exert the faculties they have received in scenes less pleasing and elevated, in sustaining the labours of the body and the hardships of animal suffering: others are destined to the culti-» vatidn of the mind and its several powers, in speculative industry. To some are
B 2 delegated delegated- the reins of power: to others are entrusted the stores of affluence. Yet, amidst this variety of allotment, all have many duties, which they owe to themselves and others, and all have faculties specially appropriated to those duties, and therefore are required to be prompt,, diligent, and contented in their several stations, and in fulfilling the task assigned to ■them in the necessary and complex arrangements of Jhuman society. '>
Is any man, for example, called to servile occupations, to toil at the oar, or labour in, the fields? It is .clearly his duty> to exert that bodily strength and activity, which he has received from. the hand that made him and fashioned him, with petseverance . and alacrity, for the support of himself anjd his dependents, and the benefit of the community. ;And though his station may be less elevated or pleasing than that of others, yet let him not repine. It is the appointment of a wise
God, who ordereth all things " in num** ber, weight, and measure," and who never layeth a burden upon any of his creatures, without something to support or alleviate the pressure of it. For let him remember, that though others have advantages which he wants, yet he is also free from many inconveniences to which they are subject. He'is exempt from the dangerous snares of ambition, which lead thousands to ruin; he has no tedious hours of listless vacancy, which embitter the days of unemployed affluence, to sour his temper; the bread he eats, earned with the sweat of his brow, brings with it no diseases to embitter his own days, and entail a succession of misery upon his posterity. In short he may satisfy his amplest wishes, and console his severest fatigues, by enjoying the comfort of a good conscience here, and the prospect of eternal happiness hereafter. It will, therefore, become him to discharge the duties of his humble station with alacrity, mo^
B 3 desty,
desty, and contentment, in return for those various blessings, which he has "freely received" from his Maker.
Is any man, again, by his rank in so* ciety, free from the necessity of bodily labour? Still he must not think himself thereby privileged to do nothing, or, what js worse, to do evil. The very insect, which flutters in the sunshine of summer for a few moments, has. its several faculties and ends appointed by infinite wisdom. Surely therefore a rational and immortal nature cannot be left without its proper destination. The employment indeed of such a man is different from that of the necessitous, but his duty is equal: for the more leisure he has from bodily toil, though Providence has wisely made some degree of it necessary for every man, the more he is bound to improve those noble faculties of the soul, which, he has gratuitously received, in knowledge, wisdom, and virtue.
Nor let him think, that his destined task is either of small importance, or to be fulfilled without thought and exertion. Knowledge is of great value, and therefore is. not to be attained without a labour proportionable to its value. It does not, As too many, in this age of shallow learning and superficial enquiry, seem to think, lie upon the surface, the prize of every fortuitous passenger. If we mean to find it, we must dig for it, as for hidden treasure; we must rise up early, and late take rest. Nor shall we ever want employment, even though our days should be prolonged beyond the common span of life. The stores of natural knowledge; the treasures of the mineral, vegetable, and animal world; the relation and proportions of number and magnitude; the wonders of the heavens above and the earth beneath, will afford ample scope for the longest life and the greatest ta* tents,