from Short-Title Catalogue 13675.
Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.2.
© 1994, 1997 Ian Lancashire (ed.)
University of Toronto

UTEL Home Page.


[II.19.1-1]  FOrasmuch as man, being not borne to
[II.19.1-2]  ease and rest, but to labour and trauaile,
[II.19.1-3]  is by corruption of nature through sinne,
[II.19.1-4]  so farre degenerated and growne out of
[II.19.1-5]  kinde, that hee taketh Idlenesse to bee no
[II.19.1-6]  euill at all, but rather a commendable
[II.19.1-7]  thing, seemely for those that be wealthy,
[II.19.1-8]  and therefore is greedily imbraced of most
[II.19.1-9]  part of men, as agreeable to their sensuall
[II.19.1-10]  affection, and all labour and trauaile is
[II.19.1-11]  diligently auoyded, as a thing painefull
[II.19.1-12]  and repugnant to the pleasure of the flesh:
[II.19.1-13]  It is necessary to bee declared vnto you,
[II.19.1-14]  that by the ordinance of GOD, which hee hath set in the nature of
[II.19.1-15]  man, euery one ought, in his lawfull vocation and calling, to giue him­
[II.19.1-16]  selfe to labour: and that idlenesse, being repugnant to the same ordinance,
[II.19.1-17]  is a grieuous sinne, and also, for the great inconueniences and mischiefes
[II.19.1-18]  which spring thereof, an intolerable euill: to the intent that when ye vn­
[II.19.1-19]  derstand the same, ye may diligently flee from it, and on the other part
[II.19.1-20]  earnestly apply your selues, euery man in his vocation, to honest labour
[II.19.1-21]  and businesse, which as it is enioyned vnto man by GODS appoint­
[II.19.1-22]  ment, so it wanteth not his manifold blessings and sundry benefits.

[II.19.1-23]  Almighty GOD, after that he had created man, put him into Para­
[II.19.1-24]  dise, that hee might dresse and keepe it: But when hee had transgressed
[II.19.1-25]  GODS commandement, eating the fruit of the tree which was for­
[II.19.1-26]  bidden him, Almighty GOD foorthwith did cast him out of Paradise
[II.19.1-27]  into this wofull vale of miserie, enioyning him to labour the ground that


[II.19.1-29]  hee was taken out of, and to eat his bread in the sweat of his face all the
[II.19.1-30]  dayes of his life. It is the appointment and will of GOD, that euery
[II.19.1-31]  man, during the time of this mortall and transitorie life, should giue him­
[II.19.1-32]  selfe to such honest and godly exercise and labour, and euery one follow
[II.19.1-33]  his owne busines, & to walke vprightly in his owne calling. Man (saith
[II.19.1-34]  Iob) is borne to labor. And we are commanded by Iesus Sirach, not to hate


[II.19.1-35]  painefull workes, neither husbandry, or other such mysteries of trauell,
[II.19.1-36]  which the hiest hath created. The wiseman also exhorteth vs to drinke the


[II.19.1-37]  waters of our owne cesterne, and of the riuers that runne out of the
[II.19.1-38]  middes of our owne well: meaning thereby, that wee should liue of our
[II.19.1-39]  owne labours, and not deuoure the labours of other. S. Paul hearing
[II.19.1-40]  that among the Thessalonians, there were certaine that liued dissolutely


[II.19.1-41]  and out of order, that is to say, which did not worke, but were busibodies:
[II.19.1-42]  not getting their owne liuing with their owne trauaile, but eating o­
[II.19.1-43]  ther mens bread of free cost, did command the said Thessalonians, not
[II.19.1-44]  onely to withdraw themselues, and abstaine from the familiar company
[II.19.1-45]  of such inordinate persons, but also that if there were any such among
[II.19.1-46]  them that would not labour, the same should not eate, nor haue any li­
[II.19.1-47]  uing at other mens hands. Which doctrine of Saint Paul (no doubt) is
[II.19.1-48]  grounded vpon the generall ordinance of GOD, which is, that euery man
[II.19.1-49]  should labour; And therefore it is to be obeyed of all men, and no man can
[II.19.1-50]  iustly exempt himselfe from the same. But when it is said, all men should
[II.19.1-51]  labour: it is not so straitly meant, that all men should vse handy
[II.19.1-52]  labour. But as there be diuers sorts of labours, some of the minde, and
[II.19.1-53]  some of the body, and some of both: So euery one (except by reason of
[II.19.1-54]  age, debilitie of body, or want of health, he be vnapt to labor at all) ought
[II.19.1-55]  both for the getting of his owne liuing honestly, and for to profite others,
[II.19.1-56]  in some kind of labour to exercise himselfe, according as the vocation
[II.19.1-57]  whereunto GOD hath called him shall require. So that whosoeuer do­
[II.19.1-58]  eth good to the common weale and societie of men with his industrie and
[II.19.1-59]  labour, whether it be by gouerning the common weale publikely, or by
[II.19.1-60]  bearing publike office or ministery, or by doing any common necessary af­
[II.19.1-61]  faires of his countrey, or by giuing counsell, or by teaching and instruc­
[II.19.1-62]  ting others, or by what other meanes soeuer hee bee occupyed, so that
[II.19.1-63]  a profit and benefit redound thereof vnto others, the same person is not to
[II.19.1-64]  be accounted idle, though he worke no bodily labour, nor is to be denyed
[II.19.1-65]  his liuing (if hee attend his vocation) though hee worke not with his
[II.19.1-66]  hands.

[II.19.1-67]  Bodily labour is not required of them which by reason of their voca­
[II.19.1-68]  tion and office are occupied in the labour of the mind, to the succour and


[II.19.1-69]  helpe of others. Saint Paul exhorteth Timothie to eschew and refuse idle
[II.19.1-70]  widowes, which goe about from house to house, because they are not on­
[II.19.1-71]  ly idle, but pratlers also, and busibodies, speaking things which are not


[II.19.1-72]  comely. The Prophet Ezechiel declaring what the sinnes of the citie of
[II.19.1-73]  Sodome were, reckoneth idlenesse to be one of the principall. The sinnes
[II.19.1-74]  (saith he) of Sodome were these, Pride, fulnesse of meat, abundance, and
[II.19.1-75]  idlenesse: These things had Sodome and her daughters, meaning the ci­
[II.19.1-76]  ties subiect to her. The horrible and strange kind of destruction
[II.19.1-77]  of that citie, and all the countrey about the same, (which was fire and
[II.19.1-78]  brymstone rayning from heauen) most manifestly declareth, what a
[II.19.1-79]  grieuous sinne Idlenesse is, and ought to admonish vs to flee from the
[II.19.1-80]  same, and embrace honest and godly labour. But if wee giue our
[II.19.1-81]  selues to Idlenesse and slouth, to lurking and loytering, to wilfull
[II.19.1-82]  wandering, and wastefull spending, neuer setling our selues to honest
[II.19.1-83]  labour, but liuing like drone bees by the labours of other men, then do we
[II.19.1-84]  breake the Lords Commandement, we goe astray from our vocation, and
[II.19.1-85]  incur the danger of GODS wrath and heauy displeasure, to our end­
[II.19.1-86]  lesse destruction, except by repentance we turne againe vnfaignedly vn­
[II.19.1-87]  to GOD. The inconueniences and mischiefes that come of idlenesse, as­
[II.19.1-88]  well to mans body, as to his soule, are more then can in short time be well
[II.19.1-89]  rehearsed. Some we shall declare and open vnto you, that by considering
[II.19.1-90]  them, yee may the better with your selues gather the rest. An idle hand
[II.19.1-91]  (sayth Solomon) maketh poore, but a quicke labouring hand maketh


[II.19.1-92]  rich. Againe, he that tilleth his land, shall haue plenteousnesse of bread,


[II.19.1-93]  but hee that floweth in idlenesse is a very foole, and shall haue pouerty
[II.19.1-94]  ynough. Againe, A slothfull body will not goe to plowe for cold of the


[II.19.1-95]  winter, therefore shall he goe a begging in summer, and haue nothing.

[II.19.1-96]  But what shall wee neede to stand much about the proouing of this,
[II.19.1-97]  that pouerty followeth idlenesse? We haue too much experience thereof
[II.19.1-98]  (the thing is the more to bee lamented) in this Realme. For a great
[II.19.1-99]  part of the beggery that is among the poore, can bee imputed to nothing
[II.19.1-100]  so much, as to idlenesse, and to the negligence of parents, which do not
[II.19.1-101]  bring vp their children, either in good learning, honest labour, or some
[II.19.1-102]  commendable occupation or trade, whereby when they come to age, they
[II.19.1-103]  might get their liuing. Dayly experience also teacheth, that nothing is
[II.19.1-104]  more enemy or pernicious to the health of mans body, then is idlenes, too
[II.19.1-105]  much ease and sleepe, and want of exercise. But these and such like incom­
[II.19.1-106]  modities, albeit they bee great and noysome, yet because they concerne
[II.19.1-107]  chiefly the body and externall goodes, they are not to bee compared with
[II.19.1-108]  the mischiefes and inconueniences, which thorow idlenesse happen to the
[II.19.1-109]  soule, whereof wee will recite some. Idlenesse is neuer alone, but hath
[II.19.1-110]  alwayes a long tayle of other vices hanging on, which corrupt and infect
[II.19.1-111]  the whole man, after such sort, that he is made at length nothing else but
[II.19.1-112]  a lumpe of sinne. Idlenesse (saith Iesus Syrach) bringeth much euill and


[II.19.1-113]  mischiefe. Saint Bernard calleth it the mother of all euilles, and step­
[II.19.1-114]  dame of all vertues, adding moreouer, that it doeth prepare and (as it
[II.19.1-115]  were) treade the way to hell fire. Where idlenesse is once receiued, there
[II.19.1-116]  the deuill is ready to set in his foote, and to plant all kinde of wickednesse
[II.19.1-117]  and sinne, to the euerlasting destruction of mans soule. Which thing to
[II.19.1-118]  bee most true, we are plainely taught in the xiii. of Matthew, where it is
[II.19.1-119]  sayd, that the enemy came while men were asleepe, and sowed naugh­


[II.19.1-120]  tie tares among the good wheate. In very deede the best time that the
[II.19.1-121]  diuell can haue to worke his feate, is when men bee asleepe, that is to
[II.19.1-122]  say, idle: Then is hee most busie in his worke, then doeth hee soonest
[II.19.1-123]  catch men in the snare of perdition, then doeth hee fill them with all ini­
[II.19.1-124]  quitie, to bring them (without GODS speciall fauour) vnto vt­
[II.19.1-125]  ter destruction. Hereof wee haue two notable examples, most liuely
[II.19.1-126]  set before our eyes. The one in king Dauid, who tarying at home idlely
[II.19.1-127]  (as the Scripture sayth) at such times as other Kinges goe foorth to


[II.19.1-128]  battell, was quickly seduced of Satan to forsake the Lord his GOD,


[II.19.1-129]  and to commit two grieuous and abominable sinnes in his sight: adul­
[II.19.1-130]  terie, and murder.

[II.19.1-131]  The plagues that ensued these offences were horrible and grieuous,
[II.19.1-132]  as it may easily appeare to them that will reade the storie. Another ex­


[II.19.1-133]  ample of Sampson, who so long as hee warred with the Philistines, ene­
[II.19.1-134]  mies to the people of GOD, could neuer bee taken or ouercome: But
[II.19.1-135]  after that hee gaue himselfe to ease and idlenesse, he not onely committed
[II.19.1-136]  fornication with the strumpet Dalila, but also was taken of his enemies,
[II.19.1-137]  and had his eyes miserably put out, was put in prison, and compelled to
[II.19.1-138]  grinde in a Mill, and at length was made the laughing stocke of his ene­
[II.19.1-139]  mies. If these two, who were so excellent men, so welbeloued of GOD,
[II.19.1-140]  so endued with singular and diuine gifts, the one namely of prophesie,
[II.19.1-141]  and the other of strength, and such men as neuer could by vexation, la­
[II.19.1-142]  bour, or trouble, be ouercome, were ouerthrowen and fell into grieuous
[II.19.1-143]  sinnes, by giuing themselues for a short time to ease and idlenesse, and so
[II.19.1-144]  consequently incurred miserable plagues at the hands of GOD: what
[II.19.1-145]  sinne, what mischiefe, what inconuenience and plague is not to bee fea­
[II.19.1-146]  red, of them which all their life long giue themselues wholy to idlenesse
[II.19.1-147]  and ease? Let vs not deceiue our selues, thinking little hurt to come of
[II.19.1-148]  doing nothing: For it is a true saying, When one doeth nothing, hee
[II.19.1-149]  learneth to doe euill. Let vs therefore alwayes bee doing of some honest
[II.19.1-150]  worke, that the deuill may finde vs occupied. He himselfe is euer occupi­
[II.19.1-151]  ed, neuer idle, but walketh continually seeking to deuoure vs. Let vs
[II.19.1-152]  resist him with our diligent watching, in labour, and in well doing.
[II.19.1-153]  For hee that diligently exerciseth himselfe in honest businesse, is not easi­
[II.19.1-154]  ly catched in the deuils snare. When man through idlenesse, or for de­
[II.19.1-155]  fault of some honest occupation or trade to liue vpon, is brought to po­
[II.19.1-156]  uertie, and want of things necessary, wee see how easily such a man is in­
[II.19.1-157]  duced for his gaine, to lye, to practise how he may deceiue his neighbour,
[II.19.1-158]  to forsweare himselfe, to beare false witnesse, and oftentimes to steale and
[II.19.1-159]  murder, or to vse some other vngodly meane to liue withall. Whereby
[II.19.1-160]  not onely his good name, honest reputation, and a good conscience, yea
[II.19.1-161]  his life is vtterly lost, but also the great displeasure and wrath of GOD,
[II.19.1-162]  with diuers and sundry grieuous plagues, are procured. Loe heere the
[II.19.1-163]  ende of the idle and sluggish bodies, whose hands cannot away with ho­
[II.19.1-164]  nest labour: losse of name, fame, reputation, and life, here in this world,
[II.19.1-165]  and without the great mercy of GOD, the purchasing of euerlasting
[II.19.1-166]  destruction in the world to come. Haue not all men then good cause to
[II.19.1-167]  beware and take heede of idlenesse, seeing they that imbrace and follow
[II.19.1-168]  it, haue commonly of their pleasant idlenesse, sharpe and sowre displea­
[II.19.1-169]  sures? Doubtlesse good and godly men, weighing the great and mani­
[II.19.1-170]  fold harmes that come by idlenesse to a Common weale, haue from time
[II.19.1-171]  to time prouided with all diligence, that sharpe and seuere lawes might



[II.19.1-172]  bee made for the correction and amendment of this euill. The Egyptians
[II.19.1-173]  had a law, that euery man should weekely bring his name to the chiefe
[II.19.1-174]  rulers of the Prouince, and therewithall declare what trade of life hee
[II.19.1-175]  vsed, to the intent that idlenesse might bee worthily punished, and di­
[II.19.1-176]  ligent labour duely rewarded. The Athenians did chastice sluggish and
[II.19.1-177]  slothfull people, no lesse then they did hainous and grieuous offenders,
[II.19.1-178]  considering (as the trueth is) that idlenesse causeth much mischiefe.
[II.19.1-179]  The Areopagites called euery man to a straite accompt how he liued: And
[II.19.1-180]  if they found any loyterers that did not profite the common weale by
[II.19.1-181]  one meanes or other, they were driuen out, and banished, as vnprofita­
[II.19.1-182]  ble members, that did onely hurt and corrupt the body. And in this
[II.19.1-183]  Realme of England, good and godly lawes haue bin diuers times made,
[II.19.1-184]  that no idle vagabonds and loitering runnagates, should be suffered to
[II.19.1-185]  goe from Towne to Towne, from Place to Place, without punishment,
[II.19.1-186]  which neither serue GOD nor their Prince, but deuoure the sweet
[II.19.1-187]  fruits of other mens labour, being common lyers, drunkardes, swea­
[II.19.1-188]  rers, theeues, whooremasters, and murderers, refusing all honest la­
[II.19.1-189]  bour, and giue themselues to nothing else, but to inuent and doe mis­
[II.19.1-190]  chiefe, whereof they are more desirous and greedie, then is any Lyon
[II.19.1-191]  of his pray. To remedy this inconuenience, let all parents and others,
[II.19.1-192]  which haue the care and gouernance of youth so bring them vp either in
[II.19.1-193]  good learning, labour, or some honest occupation or trade, whereby they
[II.19.1-194]  may be able in time to come, not onely to susteine themselues competent­
[II.19.1-195]  ly, but also to releeue and supplie the necessitie and want of others.
[II.19.1-196]  And Saint Paul saith, Let him that hath stolen, steale no more, and he


[II.19.1-197]  that hath deceiued others, or vsed vnlawfull waies to get his liuing, leaue
[II.19.1-198]  off the same, and labour rather, working with his hands that thing
[II.19.1-199]  which is good, that he may haue that which is necessary for himselfe, and
[II.19.1-200]  also be able to giue vnto others that stand in need of his helpe. The Pro­
[II.19.1-201]  phet Dauid thinketh him happy that liueth vpon his labour, saying,


[II.19.1-202]  When thou eatest the labours of thine hands, happy art thou, and
[II.19.1-203]  well is thee. This happinesse or blessing consisteth in these and such
[II.19.1-204]  like points.

[II.19.1-205]  First it is the gift of GOD (as Salomon saith) when one eateth and drin­


[II.19.1-206]  keth, and receiueth good of his labour. Secondly, when one liueth of
[II.19.1-207]  his owne labour (so it be honest and good) he liueth of it with a good con­
[II.19.1-208]  science: and an vpright conscience is a treasure inestimable. Thirdly, he
[II.19.1-209]  eateth his bread not with brawling and chiding, but with peace and
[II.19.1-210]  quietnesse: when he quietly laboureth for the same, according to Saint
[II.19.1-211]  Pauls admonition. Fourthly, he is no mans bondman for his meat sake,
[II.19.1-212]  nor needeth not for that, to hang vpon the good will of other men: but
[II.19.1-213]  so liueth of his owne, that hee is able to giue part to others. And to con­
[II.19.1-214]  clude, the labouring man and his family, whyles they are busily occupied
[II.19.1-215]  in their labour, bee free from many temptations and occasions of sinne,
[II.19.1-216]  which they that liue in idlenesse are subiect vnto. And here ought
[II.19.1-217]  Artificers and labouring men, who bee at wages for their worke and la­
[II.19.1-218]  bour, to consider their conscience to GOD, and their duety to their
[II.19.1-219]  neighbour, lest they abuse their time in idlenesse, so defrauding them
[II.19.1-220]  which be at charge both with great wages, and deare commons. They
[II.19.1-221]  be worse then idle men indeede, for that they seeke to haue wages for their
[II.19.1-222]  loytering. It is lesse daunger to GOD to be idle for no gayne, then by
[II.19.1-223]  idlenesse to win out to their neighbours purses wages for that which
[II.19.1-224]  is not deserued. It is true that Almighty GOD is angry with such
[II.19.1-225]  as doe defraud the hired man of his wages: the cry of that iniury ascen­
[II.19.1-226]  deth vp to GODS eare for vengeance. And as true it is, that the hired
[II.19.1-227]  man, who vseth deceit in his labour, is a theefe before GOD. Let no
[II.19.1-228]  man (saith S. Paul to the Thessalonians) subtilly beguile his brother, let


[II.19.1-229]  him not defraud him in his businesse: For the Lord is a reuenger of such
[II.19.1-230]  deceits. Whereupon he that will haue a good conscience to GOD, that
[II.19.1-231]  labouring man, I say, which dependeth wholly vpon GODS benedic­
[II.19.1-232]  tion, ministring all things sufficient for his liuing, let him vie his time
[II.19.1-233]  in a faithfull labour, and when his labour by sickenesse or other misfor­
[II.19.1-234]  tune doeth cease, yet let him thinke for that in his health he serued GOD
[II.19.1-235]  and his neighbour truely, he shall not want in time of necessitie. GOD
[II.19.1-236]  vpon respect of his fidelitie in health, will recompence his indigence, to
[II.19.1-237]  mooue the hearts of good men, to relieue such decayed men in sickenesse.
[II.19.1-238]  Where otherwise, whatsoeuer is gotten by idlenesse shall haue no meanes
[II.19.1-239]  to helpe in time of need.

[II.19.1-240]  Let the labouring man therefore eschew for his part this vice of idle­


[II.19.1-241]  nesse and deceit, remembring that Saint Paul exhorteth euery man to lay
[II.19.1-242]  away all deceit, dissimulation and lying, and to vse trueth and plaine­
[II.19.1-243]  nesse to his neighbour, because (saith he) we be members together in one
[II.19.1-244]  body, vnder one head Christ our Sauiour. And here might bee charged
[II.19.1-245]  the seruing men of this Realme, who spend their time in much idlenesse
[II.19.1-246]  of life, nothing regarding the opportunitie of their time, forgetting how
[II.19.1-247]  seruice is no heritage, how age will creepe vpon them: where wisedome
[II.19.1-248]  were they should expend their idle time in some good businesse, whereby
[II.19.1-249]  they might increase in knowledge, and so the more worthy to be rea­
[II.19.1-250]  die for euery mans seruice. It is a great rebuke to them, that they
[II.19.1-251]  studie not either to write faire, to keepe a booke of account, to studie the
[II.19.1-252]  tongues, and so to get wisedome and knowledge in such bookes and
[II.19.1-253]  workes, as bee now plentifully set out in print of all manner of lan­
[II.19.1-254]  guages, Let young men consider the precious value of their time, and
[II.19.1-255]  waste it not in idlenesse, in iollitie, in gaming, in banquetting, in ruffi­
[II.19.1-256]  ans company. Youth is but vanitie, and must bee accounted for before
[II.19.1-257]  GOD. How merrie and glad soeuer thou be in thy youth, O yong man


[II.19.1-258]  (saith the Preacher) how glad soeuer thy heart be in thy yong dayes, how
[II.19.1-259]  fast and freely soeuer thou follow the wayes of thine owne heart, and the
[II.19.1-260]  lust of thine owne eyes, yet be thou sure that GOD shall bring thee into
[II.19.1-261]  iudgement for all these things. GOD of his mercie put it into the
[II.19.1-262]  hearts and minds of all them that haue the sword of punishment in their
[II.19.1-263]  hands, or haue families vnder their gouernance, to labour to redresse this
[II.19.1-264]  great enormitie, of all such as liue idlely and vnprofitably in the common
[II.19.1-265]  weale, to the great dishonour of GOD, and the grieuous plague of his
[II.19.1-266]  seely people. To leaue sinne vnpunished, and to neglect the good brin­
[II.19.1-267]  ging vp of youth, is nothing els but to kindle the Lords wrath against vs,
[II.19.1-268]  and to heape plagues vpon our owne heads. As long as the adulterous
[II.19.1-269]  people were suffered to liue licenciously without reformation: so long did
[II.19.1-270]  the plague continue and increase in Israel, as ye may see in the booke of


[II.19.1-271]  Numbers.

[II.19.1-272]  But when due correction was done vpon them, the Lords anger was
[II.19.1-273]  straight way pacified, and the plague ceased. Let all officers therefore
[II.19.1-274]  looke straitly to their charge. Let all masters of housholds reforme this
[II.19.1-275]  abuse in their families, let them vse the authority that GOD hath giuen
[II.19.1-276]  them, let them not maintaine vagabonds and idle persons, but deliuer
[II.19.1-277]  the Realme and their housholds from such noysome loyterers, that idle­
[II.19.1-278]  nesse, the mother of all mischiefe, being cleane taken away, Almighty
[II.19.1-279]  GOD may turne his dreadfull anger away from vs, and confirm
[II.19.1-280]  the couenant of peace vpon vs, for euer, through the merites
[II.19.1-281]  of Iesus Christ our onely Lord and Sauiour, to
[II.19.1-282]  whom with the Father and the holy Ghost,
[II.19.1-283]  be all honour and glory, world
[II.19.1-284]  without end, A­
[II.19.1-285]  MEN.