網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

tion, as signifying a nimble sagacity of apprehension, a special felicity of invention, a vivacity of spirit and reach of wit more than vulgar. It seemeth to argue a rare quickness of parts, that one can fetch in remote conceits applicable; a notable skill, that he can dexterously accommodate them to the purpose before him; together with a lively briskness of humour not apt to damp those sportful flashes of imagination. Whence in Aristotle such persons are termed epidexioi, dexterous men; and eutropoi, men of facile or versatile man-, ners, who can easily turn themselves to all things, or turn all things to themselves.

It also procureth delight, by gratifying curiosity with its rareness or semblance of difficulty; as monsters, not for their beauty, but their rarity; as juggling tricks, not for their use, but their abstruseness, are beheld with pleasure, by diverting the mind from its road of serious thoughts; by instilling gaiety and airiness of spirit; by provoking to such dispositions of spirit in way of emulation or complaisance; and by seasoning matters, otherwise distasteful or insipid, with an unusual and thence grateful tang.

Industry.

By industry we understand a serious and steady hoe application of mind, joined with a vigorous exercise period of our active faculties, in prosecution of any reasoner etable, honest, useful design, in order to the accomplishďment or attainment of some considerable good; as, hotel for instance, a merchant is industrious who continueth mit intent and active in driving on his trade for acquiring

wealth; a soldier is industrious who is watchful for occasion, and earnest in action towards obtaining the victory; and a scholar is industrious who doth assiduously bend his mind to study for getting knowledge.

Industry doth not consist merely in action, for that is incessant in all persons, our mind being a restless thing, never abiding in a total cessation from thought or from design; being like a ship in the sea, if not steered to some good purpose by reason, yet tossed by the waves of fancy, or driven by the winds of temptarion soinewhither. But the direction of our mind io some good end, without roving or flinching, ini? straight and steady course, drawing after it our active powers in execution thereof, doth constitute industry; the which therefore usually is attended with labour and pain; for our mind (which naturally doth affect variety and liberty, being apt to loathe familiar objects, and to be weary of any constraint) is not easily kept in a constant attention to the same thing ; and the spirits employed in thought are prone to futter and fly away, so that it is hard to fix them; and the corporeal instruments of action being strained to a high pitch, or detained in a tone, will soon feel a lassitude somewhat offensive to nature ; whence labour or pain is commonly reckoned an ingredient of industry, and laboriousness is a name signifying it; upon which account this virtue, as involving labour, deserveth a peculiar commendation; it being then most laudable 10 follow the dictates of reason, when so doing is al. tended with difficulty and trouble.

Such, in general, I conceive to be the nature of in

dustry, to the practice whereof the following considerations may induce.

1. We may consider that industry doth befit the constitution and frame of our nature, all the faculties of our soul and organs of our body being adapted in a congruity and tendency thereto; our hands are suited for work, our feet for travel, our senses 10 watch for occasion of pursuing good and eschewing evil, our reason to plod and contrive ways of employ. ing the other parts and powers; ail these, I say, are formed for action, and that not in a loose and gadding way, or in a slack and remiss degree, but in regard to determinate ends, with vigour requisite to attain them; and especially our appetites do prompt to industry, as inclining to things not attainable without it; according to that aphorism of the wise man, “ The desire of the slothful killeth bim, for his hands refuse to labour ;" that is, he is apt to desire things which he cannot attain without pains; and not enduring them, he for want thereof doth feel a deadly smart and anguish: wherefore, in not being industrious, we defeat the intent of our Maker, we pervert his work and gifts, we forfeit the use and benefit of our faculties, we are bad husbands of nature's stock..

2. In consequence hereto, industry doth preserve and perfect our nature, keeping it in good tune and temper, improving and advancing it towards its best state. The labour of our mind in attentive meditation and study doth render it capable and patient of thinking upon any object or occasion, doth polish and refine it by use, doth enlarge it by accession of habits, doth quicken and rouse our spirits, dilating and diffusing them into their proper channels. The very la.

[ocr errors]

779274 A

bour of our body doth keep the organs of action sound and clean, discussing fogs and superfluous humours, opening passages, distributing nourishment, exciting vital heat: barring the use of it, no good constitution of soul or body can subsist ; but a foul rust, a dull numbness, a resty listlessness, a heavy unwieldiness, must seize on us; our spirits will be stifled aud choked, our hearts will grow faint and languid, our parts will flag and decay; the vigour of our mind, and the health of our body, will be much impaired. .

It is with us as with other things in nature, which by motion are preserved in their native purity and perfection, in their sweetness, in their lustre; rest corrupting, debasing, and defiling them. If the water runneth, it holdeth clear, sweet, fresh ; but stagnation turneth it into a noisome puddle ; if the air be fanned by winds, it is pure and wholesome; but from being shut up, it groweth thick and putrid ; if metals be employed, they abide smooth and splendid ; but lay them up, and they soon contract rust : if the earth be belaboured with culture, it yieldeth corn; but lying neglected, it will be overgrown with brakes and thistles; and the better its soil is, the ranker weeds it will produce: all nature is upheld in its being, order, and state, by constant agitation: every creature is incessantly employed in action conformable to its designed end and use : in like manner the preservation and improvement of our faculties depend on their constant exercise.

TILLOTSON.

(1030-1694.)

JOHN TILLOTSON, Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained great celebrity as a preacher. His sermons, at his death, were purchased for no less a sum than two thousand five hundred guineas. They continue to the present time to be read, and to be held in high estimation, as instructive, rational, and impressive discourses.]

Advantages of Truth and Sincerity. Truth and reality have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the show of anything be good for anything, I am sure sincerity is better : for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to ? for, to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now, the best way in the world for a man to seem to be anything, is really to be what we would seem to be. Besides, that it is many times as troublesome to make good the pretence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it, and then all his pains and labour to seem to have it are lost. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skilful eye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.

It is hard to personate and act a part long; for where truth is not at the bottom, nature will always g*

(101)

« 上一頁繼續 »