I do not know a warning that I judge more necessary to be given to those who are called this day, than to charge them not to trade too much with their natural gifts, and abilities, and learning. These are talents in their kind; but it is the Spirit that must manage all that learning they have, or it will prejudice them, and you also. I have known some good men who have been so addicted to their study, that they have thought the last day of the week sufficient to prepare for their ministry, though they employ all the rest of the week in other studies. But your business is to trade with your spiritual abilities. . . . A man may preach a very good sermon, who is otherwise himself; but he will never make a good minister of Jesus Christ, whose mind and heart [are] not always in the work. Spiritual gifts will require continual ruminating on the things of the Gospel in our minds.
Mr. William Shakespeare was born at Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwick. His father was a butcher, and I have been told heretofore by some of the neighbors, that when he was a boy he exercised his father's trade, but when he killed a calf he would do it in a high style and make a speech. Ben Jonson and he did gather humors of men daily wherever they came.
The mere lapse of years is not life. To eat, to drink, and sleep; to be exposed to darkness and the light; to pace around in the mill of habit, and turn thought into an instrument of trade-this is not life. Knowledge, truth, love, beauty, goodness, faith, alone can give vitality to the mechanism of existence.