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The pernicious Tendency of Idleness. TILLOTSON.
DLENESS is the Bane and Ruin of Children;
it is the unbending of their Spirits, the Ruft of their Faculties, and as it were the laying of their Minds fallow; not as Husbandmen do their Lands that they may get new Heart and Strength, but to impair and lose that which they have. Children that are
in Laziness are almost necessarily bad, because they cannot take the Pains to be good ; and they cannot take Pains, because they have never been inured and accustomed to it; which makes their Spirits restive, and when you have Occasion to quicken them and spur them up to Business, they will stand stock ftill. The Devil tempts the Active and Vigorous into his Service, knowing what fit and proper Instruments they are to do his Drudgery: But the Slothful and Idle no body having hired them and set them to Work, lie in-his Way, and he stumbles upon them as he goes about ; and they do as it were offer themselves to his Service, and having nothing to do, they even tempt the Devil himself to tempt them, and to take them in his Way.
The Vanity of Good Resolutions, without suitable Endeavours.
Sincere Resolution of a better Course does
imply a Resolution of the Means, as well as of the End; he that is truly resolved against any Sin, is likewise resolved against the Occasions and Temptations that would lead and draw him to it; I
otherwise he hath taken up a rash and foolish Resolution which he is not like to keep, because he did not resolve upon that which was necessary to the keeping of it. So he that resolves upon any Part of his Duty, must likewise resolve upon the Means which are necessary to the Discharge and Performance of it; he that is resolved to be just in his Dealing, and pay his Debts, must be diligent in his Calling, and mind his Business, because without this he cannot do the other; for nothing can be more vain and fuolish, than for a Man to pretend that he is resolved upon doing his Duty, when he neglects any Thing that is necessary to put him into a Capacity, and to further him in the Discharge of it. This is, as if a Man should resolve to be well and, yet never take Physic, or be careless in observing the Rules which are prescribed in order to his Health. So for a Man to resolve against Drunkenness; and yet to run himself Temptations which naturally lead to it, by frequenting the Company of lewd and intenperate Persons, this is, as if a Man fhould resolve against the Plague, and run into the Pest-house. Whatever can reasonably move a Man to be resolved upon any End, will, if this Resolution be wise and honest
, determine him as strongly to use the Means which are proper and necessary to that End.
The Reverence due to Conscience. TILLOTSON.
E should reverence our Consciences, and
stand in Awe of them, and have a great Regard to their Testimony and Verdict: For Con
science is a domestic Judge, and a Kind of familiar God: And therefore, next to the supreme Majesty of Heaven and Earth, every Man should be afraid to offend his own Reason and Conscience, which, whenever we knowingly do amiss, will beat us with many Stripes, and handle us more severely than the greateit Enemy we have in the World: So that, next to the dreadful Sentence of the great Day, every
Man hath Reason to dread the Sentence of his own Conscience.
“God indeed is greater than “our Hearts, and knoweth all Things ;” but under him, we have the greatest Reason to fear the Judgment of our own Consciences : For nothing but that can give us Comfort, and nothing can create so much Trouble and Disquiet to us.
The Comforts of a good Conscience. TILLOTSON.
HERE is certainly no such Comfort under
the Evils and AMictions of this Life, as a faithful Witness in our Breasts of our own Innocency and Integrity: When we are afflicted by God, or persecuted and reviled by Men, it cannot but be a mighty Consolation to us, to be conscious to ourselves of our own Sincerity. For tho' no Man can acquit and justify himself before God, as to the perfe&t Innocency of his Life, yet as to the general Course and Tenor of an unblamable Life, a good Man may appeal to God, and even when he afflicts him, may look upon him as a tender and compassionate Father, and not as an angry and revengeful Judge. But, above all other Times, the Comforts of a good Conscience is most sensible, I 2.
and most considerable at the Hour of Death: For as nothing dejects a Man's Spirits more, and sends him down with so much Sorrow to the Grave, as the Guilt of an evil Conscience; fo on the other Hand, there is nothing that revives and raises the fainting Spirits of a dying Man, like the Conscience of a holy and useful Life, which hath brought Glory to God, and good to Men.
Divine Goodne;'s in the Creatica, WATTS.
HE most universal and conspicuous Appear
ances both of the Earth and Sky, are designed for the Convenience, the Profit and Pleasure of all the Animal Creation : All that we fee above us, and all beneath us, is suited to our Nourishment or to our Delight. What is more necessary for the Support of Life, than Food? Behold the Earth is cover'd with it all around; Grafs, Herbs, and Fruits for Beasts and Men, were ordained to overspread all the Surface of the Ground, so that an Animal could scarce wander any where, but his Food was near him. Amazing Provision for such an immense Family!
What is more joyful than the Light? Truly the Light is sweet, (says the wifeft of Men) and a pleafant Thing 'tis to behold the Light of the Sun. See the whole Circuit of the Heavens is replenish'd with Sun-beams, fo that while the Day lafts, wherefoever the Eye is placed, 'tis surrounded with this Enjoyment; it drinks in the eafy and general Eleffing, and is thereby entertained with all the
particular Varieties of the Creation. 'Tis Light conveys to our Notice all the Riches of the Divine Workmanship; without it Nature would be a huge and eternal Blank, and her infinite Beauties for ever unknown.
Again; What are the sweetest Colours in Nature, the most delightful to the Eye, and most refreshing too? Surely the Green and the Blue claim this Preeminence. Common Experience, as well as Philosophy, tells us, that Bodies of Blue and Green Colours send us such Rays of Light to our Eyes, as are least hurtful or offensive; we can endure them longest; whereas the Red and the Yellow, or Orange Colour, send more uneasy Rays in Abundance, and give greater Confusion and Pain to the Eye; they dazzle it sooner, and tire it quickly with a little intent Gazing; therefore the divine Goodness dress'd all the Heavens in Blue, and the Earth in Green. Our Habitation is overhung with a Canopy of most beautiful Azure, and a rich verdant Pavement is spread under our Feet, that the Eye may be pleas’d and easy, wheresoever it turns itself, and that the most universal Objects it has to converse with might not impair the Spirits and make thc Sense weary. 1. When God the new-made World survey'd,
His Word pronounc'd the Building good; Sun-beams and Light the Heavens array'd
And the whole Earth was crown'd with food.
2. Colours that charm and ease the Eye,
His Pencil spread all Nature round;