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tion, Psal. li. 5. We may rejoice in them, indeed, as God's gifts; but, alas! we may mourn over them as bearing naturally our own sinful image. As they are our children, they are children of wrath; they have a corrupt sinful nature conveyed unto them. Did they derive some hereditary bodily disease from us, how would we pity them, and do what in us lies to help them? but they derive a hereditary soul disease from Adam by us, and should we not pity and pray for them?
[2.] Great is the danger they are in, if we do not our duty to them. They are in a world of snares; if we be not eyes to them, they may fall to their ruin. If the wild ass's colt be not tamed by education, they are in a fair way to be ruined in time by a sinful life, Prov. xxix. 15; and if mercy prevent it not, they are in a fair way to be ruined to eternity.
[3.] Education is a blessed mean of grace. So was it to good Obadiah, 1 Kings xviii. 12; and so it was to Timothy, 2 Tim. iii. 15; compare chap. i. 5; Why, because it is a mean appointed of God for that end, and therefore may be followed in faith of the promise, Prov. xxii. 6; Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' Chap. xxiii. 14; Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.' Augustine's mother was a good woman; but such was his life, that it cost her many prayers and tears; and weeping to one about his case, Go thy way (said he to her), for it cannot be that a son of these tears can perish;' and so it was.
(2.) This is a great part of our generation-work, the work that we have to do for the honour of God in the world, Psal. lxxviii. 3, 4. to do our endeavour to hand down religion and honesty to the succeeding generation. And we must give an account to God of it. And as kings must account to God for what they have done for him in their kingdoms, and ministers in their congregations, so must parents account to him for what they have done in their families.
(3.) The vows of God are upon us for that cause. These are little minded by many, but God does not forget them, As Sarah was under the bond of the covenant by her hus band's circumcision; so mothers are under the bond of the covenant by the vows taken on by their husbands; and are
therefore obliged to use their utmost endeavours to fulfil these vows in the education of their children.
And the due consideration of this might engage children to be obedient and pliable to the commands, instructions, and directions of their parents, for their good.
I come now to the relation betwixt masters and servants, for which you may read Col. iii. 22. and iv. 1. 'Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.'
The servants duty is laid down, ver. 22. Servants obey in all things your masters,' &c. Wherein consider, (1.) The duty enjoined them, ' obedience.' (2.) The extent of it,
in all things,' in things religious and civil, in eager or harder pieces of service; nothing is excepted but what is şinful; and that is accepted in that clause, your masters according to the flesh; that is, the outward man to distin guish them from the great Lord and master of the con science; in which respect we are forbidden to be' servants of men,' 1 Cor. vii. 23; and to call no man master,? Matth. xxiii. 8. Therefore Joseph is commended for refu sing the solicitations of his mistress to uncleanness, and Saul's servants that they would not slay the Lord's priests. (3.) The manner of it; negatively, not with eye-service;' that is, when the master's eye is the measure of their work, busy before him; but if he turn his back, they slacken their hand? positively, in singleness of heart; that is, faithfully, as under the eye of God, to whom they must give
The master's duty is laid down, Chap. iv. 1. Wherein (1.) We have the duty they owe to their servants. It is taken up in two general heads. [1.] They are to give them what is just ;' that is, what they are obliged to give them by strict law or condition; give them what they owe them by strict justice. [2.] What is equal;' that is, what they are tied to by the law of charity and Christian meekness though not of strict justice. (2.) The reason enforcing it is, because masters on earth have a Master in heaven,' to whom they must give an account, as of other things, so of how they do to their servants.
Before I come to the duties of servants and masters, two things are to be considered, viz. who are meant by servants, and who by masters.
1. Who are meant by servants. Not to speak of bondservants or slaves, whose bodies are perpetually under the power of their masters, their being no such servitude among us; servants, who are mercenary, or hirelings, are of two sorts. (1.) Domestic servants, who live in their master's family. (2.) Extra-domestic servants, who, though they live not in their master's family, but by themselves, yet receive his wages, whether for a few days, as day-labourers, men or women; or for certain terms, as herds, hinds, &c. All these come under the name of servants, and owe a duty to their masters, according to the law of God.
2. Who are meant by masters. (1.) There is the principal master, the master of the family, who pays the wages. (2.) There are subordinate masters. Such are, [1.] The mistress of the family, Psal. cxxiii. 2. [2.] Fellow-servants, or others deputed by, and having power from the principle master to oversee others, Gen. xxiv. 2. These must be obeyed, as having the master's authority, unless it be known that they go cross to the will and interest of the principal master. And here I shall consider,
1. The duty servants owe to their masters.
2. The duty of masters with respect to their servants, First, I am to shew the duty which servants owe to their masters. They owe,
1. Inward reverence towards them, and fear of them, 1 Pet. ii. 18. Mal. i. 6. They should have a hearty respect to the character of a master, with a conscientious regard to the superiority that God has given them over them, wherein they are, so far, to them in the place of God, Eph. vi. 5. as unto Christ.' They should fear to offend them, to displease them by doing or omitting any thing which they know will offend them, Eph. vi. 5.
2. Honour, Mal. i. 6. They ought outwardly to carry respectfully to them, whatever they be, if they be their masters, and that both in word and deed. An humbly submissive and respectful countenance and carriage towards a master, is an excellent ornament of a servant. Neither the badness of the master, nor his goodness and piety, leaves servants a latitude in this point. Though they be bad men, VOL. III. с
yet they are masters, 1 Tim. vi. 1. and if they be fellowChristians, that takes not away the distance of stations,
3. Carefulness to maintain the credit of the family, not disclosing the secrets thereof, nor blazing abroad their infir mities. The king of Syria was troubled to think that any of his servants should be as spies upon him, 2 Kings vi, 11. And surely tale-bearing servants must be a great plague to a family. It is reckoned among the mischiefs of an evil time, when there is no trusting of any body that a man's enemies are those of his own house, Mich. vii, 6. It is a Judas-like treachery, when men or women are brought into a house to eat their bread and work their work, to go abroad among others and wound their reputation.
4. Standing to the master's allowance, both in things determined by condition and not determined. Some things, are determined by condition, that the servants may require; and when the master allows that, though the servant may think it too little, he ought not to take more at his own hand. So when servants are allowed to keep so many beasts, and no more, it is their sin to keep more; though they may think it is no fault if they can get it kept secret, it does no great wrong to the master. But that is injustice to the ma ster, and our sin before God, in whose sight it will be reckoned theft, Gen xxx. 23. And in things not determined by condition, as the measure of diet and liberty, certainly the master's allowance in that is to be stood to, As to their diet, it is observed of the virtuous woman, Prov. xxxi, 15. She giveth meat to her houshold:' they do not take it at their own hand. The secret waste that some make in the houses of others for their bellies, is oft-times, I believe, punished with hungry bellies when they come to their own. As for their liberty and time, it is carved out by the masters, not by the servants, ver. 15, 18. And for servants to take their master's time to employ for themselves, without their master's allowance, is injustice.
5, Meek and patient submission to the checks and rebukes of the master, not answering again, Tit. ii. 9. The ears of servants are bored to hear, and their tongues not filed to speak. It is very good reason, will ye say, when we are in a fault; though many will not take a word in that case, without giving the master as good as he brings. But if they have
done no fault, they think they are not obliged to bear a rebuke. But the spirit of God does not teach so, 1 Pet. ii. 18. 19, 20. Servants, be subject to your masters, with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffetted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable with God.' It may be the master's sin to chide unreasonably, but it is the servant's sin not to bear it meekly. Sarah dealt hardly with her maid, which was her sin; yet the angel will not allow Hagar to take her heels for it, but obliges her to return and submit, Gen. xvi. 9.
9. Lastly, Serving them conscientiously and honestly. If servants expect their wages, they owe their master service; and God will have them to make conscience of their service. If we look to the word of God, there is much that goes to this.
(1.) Servants must be obedient and pliable to the commands of the master in all lawful things, Tit. ii. 9. Though the service required may be painful and hard yet they ought not to refuse it. Thus Jacob served Laban, Gen. xxxi. 40. 41. without considering, that he was as good a man as his master was. They that put their necks under the yoke, should resolve to bear it.
(2.) Ye should follow the masters direction in the management of the work, not only doing what you are bidden, but as ye are bidden, Psal. cxxiii. 2. The master is the eye to direct, and the servant the hand to do what is directed. That the servant may calmly advise the master, there is no doubt; but they that will do nothing pleasantly, if they get not their own way of it, forget themselves and their duty.
(3.) Ye should do your business cheerfully, Col. iii. 23. Such a servant was Jacob to his uncle Laban, Gen. xxix. 20. Sullenness and going about business grudgingly, makes it unacceptable, though otherwise well done.
(4.) Ye should do your business singly. This a servant does when he does not consult his own ease and humour, but his master's true interest, truly aiming at the thriving of his affairs, carefully avoiding every thing that may tend to