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up against the day of judgment a treasure of good works, that thy time may be crowned with eternity.
7. In the midst of the works of thy calling, often retire to God in short prayers and ejaculations, and those may make up the want of those larger portions of time which it may be thou desirest for devotion, and in which thou thinkest other persons have advantage of thee, for so thou reconcilest the outward work and thy inward calling, the Church and the commonwealth, the employment of the body and the interest of thy soul. For be sure that God is present at thy breathings and hearty sighings of prayer as soon as at the longest offices of less busied persons; and thy time is as truly sanctified by a trade, and devout, though shorter, prayers, as by the longer offices of those whose time is not filled up with labour and useful busi
8. Let your employment be such as may become a reasonable person,
and not be a business fit for children or distracted people, but fit for your age and understanding. For a man may be very idly busy, and take great pains to so little purpose that in his labours and expense of time he shall serve no end but of folly and vanity. There are some trades that wholly serve the ends of idle persons and fools, and such as are fit to be seized upon by the severity of laws, and banished from under the sun; and there are some people who are busy, but it is as Domitian was, in catching flies.
9. Let your employment be fitted to your person and calling. Some there are that employ their time in affairs infinitely below the dignity of their person, and being called by God or by the republic to help to bear great burdens, and to judge a people, enfeeble their understandings, and disable their persons by sordid and brutish business. Thus Nero went up and down Greece, and challenged the fiddlers at their trade; Æropus, a Macedonian king, made lanterns; Harcatius, the king of Parthia, was a mole-catcher; and Biantes, the Lydian,
EMPLOYMENT OF TIME.
filed needles. He that is appointed to minister in holy things, must not suffer secular affairs and sordid arts to eat up great portions of his employment: a clergyman must not keep a tavern, nor a judge be an innkeeper; and it was a great idleness in Theophylact, the Patriarch of Constantinople, to spend his time in his stable of horses, when he should have been in his study or his pulpit, or saying his holy offices. Such employments are the diseases of labour, and rust of time, which it contracts, not by lying still, but by dirty employment.
10. Let your employment be such as becomes a Christianthat is, in no sense mingled with sin: for be that takes pains to serve the ends of covetousness, or ministers to another's lust, or keeps a shop of impurities or intemperance, is idle in the worst sense ; for every hour so spent runs him backward, and must be spent again in the remaining and shorter part of his life, and spent better.
11. Persons of great quality, and of no trade, are to be most prudent and curious in their employment and traffic of time. They are miserable if their education hath been so loose and undisciplined as to leave them unfurnished of skill to spend their time : but most miserable are they, if such misgovernment and unskilfulness make them fall into vicious and baser company, and drive on their time by the sad minutes and periods of sin and death. They that are learned know the worth of time, and the manner how well to improve the day; and they are to prepare themselves for such purposes in which they may be most useful in order to arts or arms, to counsel in public, or government in their country; but for others of them that are unlearned, let them choose good company, such as may not tempt them to a vice or join with them in any; but that may supply their defects by counsel and discourse, by way of conduct and conversation. Let them learn easy and useful things, read history and the laws of the land, learn the customs of their country, the condition of their own estate, profitable and charitable contrivances of it: let them study prudently to govern their families, learn the burdens of their tenants, the necessities of their neighbours, and in their proportions supply them, and reconcile their enmities, and prevent their lawsuits, or quickly end them; and in this glut of leisure and disemployment, let them set apart greater portions of their time for religion, and the necessities of their souls.
12. Let the women of noble birth and great fortunes do the same things in their proportions and capacities, nurse their children, look to the affairs of the house, visit poor cottages, and relieve their necessities, be courteous to the neighbourhood, learn in silence of their husbands or their spiritual guides, read good books, pray often, and speak little, and “learn to do good works for necessary uses;" for by that phrase St Paul expresses the obligation of Christian women to good housewifery, and charitable provisions for their family and neighbourhood.
13. Let all persons of all conditions avoid all delicacy and niceness in their clothing or diet, because such softness engages them upon great misspendings of their time, while they dress and comb out all their opportunities of their morning devotion, and half the day's severity, and sleep out the cares and provision for their souls.
14. Let every one of every condition avoid curiosity, and all inquiry into things that concern them not. For all business in things that concern us not is an employing our time to no good of ours, and therefore not in order to a happy eternity. In this account our neighbour's necessities are not to be reckoned; for they concern us as one member is concerned in the grief of another; but going from house to house tattlers and busybodies, which are the canker and rust of idleness, as idleness is the rust of time, are reproved by the apostle in severe language, and forbidden in order to this exercise.
15. As much as may be, cut off all impertinent and useless employments of your life, unnecessary and fantastic visits, long waitings upon great personages, where neither duty, nor necessity, nor charity, obliges us; all vain meetings, all laborious trifles, and whatsoever spends much time to no real, civil, religious, or charitable purpose.
16. Let not your recreations be lavish spenders of your time, but choose such which are healthful, short, transient, recreative, and apt to refresh you ; but at no hand dwell upon them, or make them your great employment : for he that spends his time in sports, and calls it recreation, is like him whose garment is all made of fringes, and his meat nothing but sauces; they are healthless, chargeable, and useless. And therefore avoid such games which require much time or long attendance; or which are apt to steal thy affections from more severe employments; for to whatsoever thou hast given thy affections, thou wilt not grudge to give thy time. Natural necessity and the example of St John (who recreated himself with sporting with a tame partridge) teach us that it is lawful to relax and unbend our bow, but not to suffer it to be unready or unstrung.
17. Set apart some portions of every day for more solemn devotion, and religious employment, which be severe in observing; and if variety of employment, or prudent affairs, or civil society press upon you, yet so order thy rule, that the necessary parts of it be not omitted ; and though just occasions may make our prayers shorter, yet let nothing but a violent, sudden, and impatient necessity make thee upon any one day wholly to omit thy morning and evening devotions, which, if you be forced to make very short, you may supply and lengthen with ejaculations and short retirements in the day-time in the midst of your employment, or of your company.
18. Do not the work of God negligently and idly ; let not thy heart be upon the world, when thy hand is lift up in prayer; and be sure to prefer an action of religion in its place and proper season before all worldly pleasure, letting secular things (that may be dispensed with in themselves) in these circumstances wait upon the other; not like the patriarch who ran from the altar in St Sophia to his stable in his pontificals, and in the midst of his office, to see a colt newly fallen from his beloved and much valued mare Phorbante. More prudent and severe was that of Sir Thomas More, who being sent for by the king when he was at his prayers in public, retumed answer, he would attend him when he had first performed his service to the King of kings. And it did honour to Rusticus, that when letters from Cæsar were given to him, he refused to open them till the philosopher had done his lecture. In honouring God and doing His work put forth all thy strength, for of that time only thou mayest be most confident that it is gained, which is prudently and zealously spent in God's service. 19. When the clock strikes, or however else you
shall measure the day, it is good to say a short ejaculation every hour, that the parts and returns of devotion may be the measure of your time; and do so also in all the breaches of thy sleep, that those spaces which have in them no direct business of the world may be filled with religion.
20. If by thus doing you have not secured your time by an early and forehanded care, yet be sure by a timely diligence to redeem the time—that is, to be pious and religious in such instances in which formerly you have sinned, and to bestow your time especially upon such graces, the contrary whereof you have formerly practised, doing actions of chastity and temperance with as great a zeal and earnestness as you did once act your uncleanness; and then by all arts to watch against your present and future dangers, from day to day securing your standing : this is properly to redeem your time—that is, to buy your security of it at the rate of any labour and honest arts.