Website owner:  James Miller

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On Work and Idleness

   Shun idleness.  It is a rust that attaches itself to the most 
   brilliant metals. 

   Winter comes fast on the lazy. 

                                          Irish Proverb

   Idleness is the sepulcher of a living man.

   He is idle that might be better employed.

   Idle folks have the least leisure.

   Idleness rusts the mind.

   Of idleness comes no goodness.

   Idle folks lack no excuses.

   All days are short to Industry and long to Idleness.

   The lazy servant, to save one step, goes eight.

   There is more trouble in having nothing to do than in having 
   much to do.

   People who have nothing to do are quickly tired of their own 

   In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the 
   lips tendeth only to penury. 
                                          Prov 14:23   

   As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, 
    So is the lazy man to those who send him.
                                      Prov 10:26

   The hand of the diligent will rule, 
    But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
                                      Prov 12:24

   The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside! 
    I shall be slain in the streets!" 
                                     Prov 22:13

   The slothful man roasts not that which he took in hunting,
     but the substance of the diligent man is precious.
                                           Prov 12:27

   The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; 
    But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
                                            Prov 13:4

   The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, 
    But the way of the upright is a highway. 
                                        Prov 15:19

   A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, 
    And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.             
                                             Prov 19:24

   The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold;
    Therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
                                         Prov 20:4

   The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road! 
    A fierce lion is in the streets!"   
   As a door turns on its hinges, 
    So does the lazy man on his bed. 
   The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; 
    It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.   
   The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes 
    Than seven men who can answer sensibly. 
                                      Prov 26:13-16

   The desire of the lazy man kills him, 
    For his hands refuse to labor. 
   He covets greedily all day long, 
   But the righteous gives and does not spare. 
                                     Prov 21:26

   I went by the field of the lazy man, 
    And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;    
   And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; 
    Its surface was covered with nettles; 
    Its stone wall was broken down.    
   When I saw it, I considered it well; 
    I looked on it and received instruction: 
   A little sleep, a little slumber, 
    A little folding of the hands to rest; 
   So shall your poverty come like a prowler, 
    And your need like an armed man. 
                                 Prov 24:30-34

   Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; 
    Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.
                                                 Prov 20:13

   He who gathers in summer is a wise son; 
    He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. 
                                               Prov 10:5

   A sluggard takes an hundred steps because he would not take one 
   in due time.

   He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand.

   Sloth is the mother of poverty.

   A slothful hand makes a slender estate.

   A slothful man never has time.

   Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

   An idle brain is the devil's workshop.

   Laziness begins with cobwebs and ends with iron chains.

   It is a great weariness to do nothing.

   Idle people are generally busybodies.

   A lazy spirit is a losing spirit. 

   To do nothing teaches to do ill.

   Standing pools gather filth.

   Idleness is the root of all evil.

   Idleness teacheth much evil.

   A young man idle, an old man needy.

   Idleness always envies industry.

   Idleness is the greatest prodigality in the world.

   He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a 
   great waster.

   The man with time to burn never gave the world any light.

   Enjoyment stops where indolence begins.

   Care and diligence bring luck.

   Industry is the parent of virtue.

   Employment brings enjoyment.

   It is a very waste of life to be and not to do.

   Think of ease but work on.

   He that gathereth by labor shall increase. 
                                          Prov. 13:11

   The mill gains by going, and not by standing still.

   Industry is the parent of success.

   If pains be a pleasure to you profit will follow.

   Labor overcometh all things.

   God gives all things to industry.

   Labor --- all labor is noble and holy.

   He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: 
    But the hand of the diligent maketh rich.     

                                         Prov 10:4

   It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants.  The question is:  
   What are we busy about? 


   Idleness is the bane of body and mind, the nurse of 
   naughtiness, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven 
   deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, 
   and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other 
   diseases;  for the mind is naturally active; and if it is not 
   occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or 
   sinks into melancholy. 

   Idleness is the hot-bed of temptation, the cradle of disease, 
   the waster of time, the canker-worm of felicity.  To him who 
   has no employment, life in a little while will have no novelty;  
   and when novelty is laid in the grave, the funeral of comfort 
   will soon follow. 

   Idleness is a constant sin, and labor is a duty.  Idleness is 
   the devil's home for temptation and for unprofitable, 
   distracting musings;  while labor profiteth others and 

   If idleness do not produce vice or malevolence, it commonly 
   produces melancholy. 
                                             Sydney Smith

   In idleness there is perpetual despair. 


   The first external revelations of the dry-rot in men is a 
   tendency to lurk and lounge; to be at street corners without 
   intelligible reason; to be going anywhere when met; to be 
   about many places rather than any; to do nothing tangible but 
   to have an intention of performing a number of tangible duties 
   to-morrow or the day after. 

   Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless 
   ease: many without labor would live by their own wits only, but 
   they break for want of stock. 

   Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man's time much 
   more completely, and leaves him less his own master, than any 
   sort of employment whatsoever. 


   It is a mistake to imagine, that the violent passions only, 
   such as ambition and love, can triumph over the rest. Idleness, 
   languid as it is, often masters them all; she influences all 
   our designs and actions, and insensibly consumes and destroys 
   both passions and virtues. 


   If you are idle you are on the way to ruin, and there are few 
   stopping places upon it.  It is rather a precipice than a road. 

                                                H. W. Beecher

   To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches; and 
   therefore every man endeavors with his utmost care to hide his 
   poverty from others, and his idleness from himself. 


   A man who is able to employ himself innocently is never 
   miserable.  It is the idle who are wretched.  If I wanted to 
   inflict the greatest punishment on a fellow-creature I would 
   shut him alone in a dark room without employment. 

   Idleness among children, as among men, is the root of all evil, 
   and leads to no other evil more certain than ill temper. 

                                                Hannah More

   So long as idleness is quite shut out from our lives, all the 
   sins of wantonness, softness, and effeminacy are prevented; and 
   there is but little room for temptation. 

                                              Jeremy Taylor

   Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron 
   chains. The more business a man has to do the more he is able 
   to accomplish, for he learns to economize his time. 

                                              Sir M. Hale

   It would be thought a hard government that should tax its 
   people one-tenth part of their time, to be employed in its 
   service; but idleness taxes many of us much more;  sloth, by 
   bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like 
   rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is 
   always bright.  Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, 
   for that is the stuff life is made of.  How much more than is 
   necessary do we spend in sleep, forgetting that the sleeping 
   fox catches no poultry, and there will be sleeping enough in 
   the grave! 


   By nature's laws, immutable and just, enjoyment stops where 
   indolence be­gins. 

   I look upon indolence as a sort of suicide; for the man is 
   efficiently destroyed, though the appetite of the brute may 


   The idle levy a very heavy tax upon the industrious when, by 
   frivolous visitations, they rob them of their time.  Such 
   persons beg their daily happiness from door to door, as beggars 
   their daily bread.  A mere gossip ought not to wonder if we are 
   tired of him, seeing that we are indebted for the honor of his 
   visit solely to the circumstance of his being tired of himself. 

   Much bending breaks the bow; much unbending the mind. 


   Employment, which Galen calls "Nature's physician," is so 
   essential to human happiness that indolence is justly 
   considered as the mother of misery. 


   The way to be nothing is to do noth­ing. 


   The busy man is troubled with but one devil; the idle man by a 

                                               Spanish proverb

   Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things 
   easy.  He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce 
   overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so 
   slowly that poverty soon overtakes him. 


   Evil thoughts intrude in an unemployed mind, as naturally as 
   worms are generated in a stagnant pool. 

   Idleness is an inlet to disorder, and makes way for 
   licentiousness.  People who have nothing to do are quickly 
   tired of their own company. 


   Idleness is the burial of a living man. 

                           Jeremy Taylor

   Absence of occupation is not rest; a mind quite vacant is a 
   mind distressed. 

   Idleness travels very slowly, and poverty soon overtakes her. 


   Idleness is the gate of all harms.  An idle man is like a house 
   that hath no walls; the devils may enter on every side. 

   It is an undoubted truth that the less one has to do the less 
   time one finds to do it in. One yawns, one procrastinates, one 
   can do it when one will, and, therefore, one seldom does it at 
   all; whereas, those who have a great deal of business must 
   buckle to it; and then they always find time enough to do it. 


   Do not allow idleness to deceive you; for while you give him 
   today he steals tomorrow from you. 

   Go to the ant, thou sluggard, learn to live, and by her busy 
   ways, reform thine own. 

   Ten thousand harms more than the ills we know, our idleness 
   doth hatch. 


   What  men want is not talent; it is purpose; in other words, 
   not the power to acheive, but the will to labor. 

   If you ask me what is the real hereditary sin of human nature, 
   do you think I would answer pride, or luxury, or ambition, or 
   egotism?  No:  I shall say indolence.  Who conquers indolence 
   will conquer all the rest.  Indeed all good principles must 
   stagnate without mental activity. 


   There is no art or science that is too difficult for industry 
   to attain to;  it is the gift of tongues, and makes a man 
   understood and valued in all countries, and by all nations;  it 
   is the philosopher's stone, that turns all metals, and even 
   stones, into gold, and suffers no want to break into its 
   dwellings; it is the northwest passage, that brings the 
   merchant's ships as soon to him as he can desire: in a word, it 
   conquers all enemies, and makes fortune itself pay 

   Like the bee, we should make our industry our amusement. 


   In every rank, both great and small, it is industry that 
   supports us all. 


   God has so made the mind of man that a peculiar deliciousness 
   resides, in the fruits of personal industry. 


   Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hopes will die 
   fasting.  There are no gains without pains.  He that hath a trade 
   hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of 
   profit and honor; but then the trade must be worked at, and the 
   calling followed, or neither the estate nor the office will 
   enable us to pay our taxes.  If we are industrious, we shall 
   never starve; for, at the workingman's house hunger looks in, 
   but dares not enter.  Nor will the bailiff or the constable 
   enter, for industry pays debts, while idleness and neglect 
   increase them. 


   There is always hope in a man who actually and earnestly works.  
   In idleness alone is there perpetual despair. 


   The more we do, the more we can do;  the more busy we are, the 
   more leisure we have. 

   Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the 
   foundation of pleasure.  He who is a stranger to it may possess, 
   but cannot enjoy, for it is labor only which gives relish to 
   pleasure.  It is the indispensable condition of possessing a 
   sound mind in a sound body, and is the appointed vehicle of 
   every good to man. 


   A man should inure himself to voluntary labor, and not give up 
   to indulgence and pleasure, as they beget no good constitution 
   of body nor knowledge of mind. 


   Industry keeps the body healthy, the mind clear, the heart 
   whole, and the purse full. 
                                                C. Simmons

   An hour's industry will do more to produce cheerfulness, 
   suppress evil humors, and retrieve one's affairs, than a 
   month's moaning.  It sweetens enjoyments, and seasons our 
   attainments with a delightful relish. 

   A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for 
   them better than by giving them a fortune. 


   The chiefest action for a man of spirit is never to be out of 
   action; the soul was never put into the body to stand still. 

                                               J. Webster

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