A Drink from Brooks: Don’t Be Idle, Especially about Idleness

workzone-30948_1280.pngAs ever you would give up yourselves to private prayer, Take heed of an idle and slothful spirit. If Adam, in the state of innocency, must work and dress the garden, and if, after his fall, when he was monarch of all the world, he must yet labor—why should any be idle or slothful? Idleness is a sin against the law of creation. God created man to labor, the idle person violates this law of creation; for by his idleness he casts off the authority of his Creator, who made him for labor. Idleness is a contradiction to the principles of our creation. Man in innocency should have been freed from weariness—but not from employment; he was to dress the garden by divine appointment: ‘And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it,’ Gen 2:15. All weariness in labor, and all vexing, tiring, and tormenting labor, came in by the fall: ‘In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread,’ Gen 3:19. The bread of idleness is neither sweet nor sure: ‘An idle person shall suffer hunger,’ says Solomon, Prov 19:15. An idle life and a holy heart are far enough asunder. By doing nothing, says the heathen man, men learn to do evil things. It is easy slipping out of an idle life into an evil and wicked life; yes, an idle life is of itself evil, for man was made to be active, not to be idle. The Cyclops thought man’s happiness did consist in doing nothing; but no excellent thing can be the child of idleness. Idleness is a mother-sin, a breeding-sin; it is the devil’s cushion, on which he sits, and the devil’s anvil, on which he frames very great and very many sins, Eph 4:28; 2 Thess 3:10,12. Look! as toads and serpents breed most in standing waters, so sin thrives most in idle people. Idleness is that which provokes the Lord to forsake men’s bodies, and the devil to possess their souls. —Thomas Brooks, The Privy Key of Heaven

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