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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A reluctancy to be employed in any kind of work. The idle man is in every view both foolish and criminal. "He neither lives to God, to the world, nor to himself. He does not live to God, for he answers not the end for which he was brought into being. Existence is a sacred trust; but he who misemploys and squanders it away, thus becomes treacherous to its Author. Those powers which should be employed in his service, and for the promotion of his glory, lie dormant. The time which should be sacred to Jehovah is lost; and thus he enjoys no fellowship with God, nor any way devotes himself to his praise. He lives not to the world, nor for the benefit of his fellow-creatures around him. While all creation is full of life and activity, and nothing stands still in the universe, he remains idle, forgetting that mankind are connected by various relations and mutual dependencies, and that the order of the world cannot be maintained without perpetual circulation of active duties. He lives not to himself. Though he imagines that he leaves to others the drudgery of life, and betakes himself to enjoyment and ease, yet, in fact, he has no true pleasure. While he is a blank in society, he is no less a torment to himself; for he who knows not what it is to labour, knows not what it is to enjoy.

He shuts the door against improvement of every kind, whether of mind, body, or fortune. Sloth enfeebles equally the bodily and the mental powers. His character falls into contempt. Disorder, confusion, and embarrassment mark his whole situation. Idleness is the inlet to a variety of other vices. It undermines every virtue in the soul. Violent passions, like rapid torrents, run their course; but after having overflowed their banks, their impetuosity subsides: but sloth, especially when it is habitual, is like the slowly-flowing putrid stream, which stagnates in the marsh, breeds venomous animals and poisonous plants, and infects with pestilential vapours the whole country round it. Having once tainted the soul, it leaves no part of it sound; and at the same time gives not those alarms to conscience which the eruptions of bolder and fiercer emotions often occasion." Logan's Sermons, vol. 1: ser. 4. Blair's Sermons, vol. 3: ser. 4. Idler, vol. 1: p. 5, 171, 172. Cowper's Poems, 228, vol. 1: duod. Johnson's Rambler, vol. 2: p. 162, 163.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Idleness'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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