He who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies lacks judgment.
I. THAT SELF-RESPECT, HOWEVER INDIGENT, is better than "being ministered unto" at the cost of reputation. It is better to lack bread, or even life itself, really honoring ourself, than it is to receive any amount of service from others, if we have forfeited the regard of the good, and are deservedly "despised." But taking the words as they are, and reaching the sense intended by the writer, we gather -
II. THAT DOMESTIC COMFORT AND SUFFICIENCY ARE MUCH TO BE PREFERRED TO THE GRATIFICATION OF PERSONAL VANITY. One man, in order that he may have consideration and deference from his neighbours, expends his resources on those outward appearances which will command that gratification; to do this he has to deny himself the attendance which he would like to have, and even the nourishment he needs. Another man disregards altogether the slights he may suffer from his meddlesome and intrusive neighbours, in order to supply his home with the food and the comforts which will benefit his family. It is the latter who is the wise man. For:
1. The gratification of vanity is a very paltry satisfaction; there is nothing honourable, but rather ignoble about it; it lowers rather than raises a man in the sight of wisdom.
2. The gratification thus gained is likely to prove very ephemeral, and to diminish constantly in its value; moreover, it is personal and, in that sense, selfish.
3. Domestic comfort is a daily advantage, lasting the whole year round, the whole life long.
4. Domestic comfort not only benefits the head of the household, but all the members of it, and he who makes a happy home is contributing to the good of his country and his kind. Using now the words of the text as suggestive of truths which they do not actually hold, we learn -
III. THAT THERE IS A VALUABLE SERVICE WHICH ALL MAY SECURE. "He that hath a servant." Men are divisible into those that are servants and those that have them. Some are the slaves of their evil habits; these are to be profoundly pitied, however many menservants or maidservants they may have at their call. But we may and should belong to those who hold their habits, whether of the mind or of the life, under their control and at their command. If that be so with us, then, though we should have no dependents at all in our employ, or though we ourselves should be dependents, living in honourable and useful service, we shall have the most valuable servants always at hand to minister to us, building up our character, strengthening our mind, enlarging our life.
IV. THAT WE SHOULD SECURE NOURISHMENT AT ALL COSTS WHATEVER. We must never he "the man that lacketh bread." To attain to any honour, to receive any adulation, to indulge any tancy, and to "lack bread," is a great mistake. For nourishment is strength and fulness of life; it is so in
(1) the physical,
(2) the intellectual,
(3) the moral and spiritual realm.
With the regularity and earnestness with which we ask for "daily bread," we should labour and strive to secure it, for our whole nature. - C.
He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread.
(Francis Jacox, B.A.)
Homilist.I. MANLY INDUSTRY.
1. He has manly industry indicated. Agriculture is the oldest, divinest, healthiest, and most necessary branch of human industry.
2. He has manly industry rewarded. Skilled industry is seldom in want.
II. PARASITICAL INDOLENCE..
1. There are those who hang on others for their support.
2. Such persons are fools. They sacrifice self-respect. They expose themselves to degrading annoyances.
Scientific Illustrations.It will be profitable to idle people to observe the arrangement whereby nature condemns the drones to death in the bee community. No sooner is the business of swarming ended, and the worker-bees satisfied there will be no lack of fertile queens, when issues the terrible edict for the massacre of the drones. Poor fellows! It is to be hoped they comfort themselves with the reflection that their fate is an everlasting homily, presented by nature in dogmatical but most effective fashion, of the uselessness of all who labour not for their living. If one must die for the good of one's kind, by all means let it be as a martyr. Poor fellows! how they dart in and out, and up and down the hive, in the vain hope of escape! The workers are inexorable.
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