And let ours also learn to maintain good works
By which are not only meant honest trades, as some choose to render the words: it is true, that a trade is a work; and an honest lawful employment of life is a good work; and which ought to be maintained, attended to, and followed, and to be learnt, in order to be followed. The Jews say, that he that does not teach his son a trade, it is all one as if he taught him to rob or steal; hence their doctors were brought up to trades; (See Gill on Mark 6:3); as was the Apostle Paul, though he had an education under Gamaliel: and such an one is to be learned and maintained for necessary uses, for the good of a man's self, and for the supply of his family; for the assistance of others that are in need; for the support of the Gospel, and the interest of Christ; and for the relief of poor saints; that such may not be unfruitful and useless, in commonwealths, neighbourhoods, churches, and families. The Jews say F3
``there are four things which a man should constantly attend to with all his might, and they are these; the law, "good works", prayer, (Ura Krdw) , and "the way of the earth", or "business"; if a tradesman, to his trade; if a merchant, to his merchandise; if a man of war to war.''But though this may be part of the sense of these words, it is not the whole of it; nor are acts of beneficence to the poor of Christ, to the household of faith, to strangers and ministers, to whom good is especially to be done, only intended; though they, may be taken into the account, in agreement with the context; but all good works in general, which are done in conformity to the revealed will of God, in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God, are meant: to maintain them, is to endeavour to outdo others in them, not only the men of the world, but one another; and to set examples of them to others, and to provoke one another, by an holy emulation, to them; and to be constant in the performance of them: and which believers may "learn" partly from the Scriptures, which contain what is the good and perfect will of God; these show what are good works, and direct unto them, and furnish the man of God for them; and also the grace part of the Scripture, the doctrines of the grace of God, teach to deny sin, and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives; and from the examples of the apostles and followers of Christ; and above all from Christ himself, the great pattern and exemplar of good works: and this lesson of good works is to be learnt by ours; meaning not only those of the same function, who were in the same office, ministers of the Gospel, as were the apostle and Titus; but all that believed in God, who were of the same Christian community and society, professors of the same religion, and partakers of the same grace; and were not only nominally, but really of the same number, even of the number of God's elect, the redeemed from among men, the family of Christ, sharers in the common faith, and heirs of the grace of life; who lie under the greatest obligations to learn to do good works: "for necessary uses"; not to make their peace with God, or to atone for their sins, or to procure the pardon of them, or to cleanse them from them, or for their justification before God, or to obtain salvation and eternal life; but to glorify God, testify their subjection to him, and gratitude for mercies received; to show forth their faith to men; to adorn the doctrine of Christ, and a profession of it; to recommend religion to others; to stop the mouths of gainsayers, and put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: and "that they be not unfruitful"; in them, and in the knowledge of Christ; good works are the fruits of the Spirit, and of his grace; they are fruits of righteousness; and such as are without them are like trees without fruit, useless and unprofitable.
F3 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 32. 2. & Gloss. in. ib.