« PreviousContinue »
proof for their faults, owning they have done wrong, and trying in future to amend their conduct. But for them to feel deaf to just censure for misbehaviour, and to harden themselves against it, is a proof of a depraved heart, which inclines them to rebel against God and man. If, however, servants are blamed without cause, rebuked harshly, or treated ill for doing well, they should remember the Scripture maxims, which direct them not to rise up passionately in self-vindication, " by answering again®;" but to “suffer for it, and take it patiently, because this is acceptable with Godd.” When they can thus submit to ill-usage from "conscience toward God,” they comply with His will, as expressed by the Apostle : “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear ; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the frowarde."
Instead of being angry at such treatment, servants will consider the patience of Christ, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously:" and, however faithful and pious servants may be neglected by unreasonable and insolent masters, their upright and selfdenying behaviour will procure for them the approbation of God, who will not fail to reward any service done with an eye to the promotion of his glory. “Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free 8."
c Tit. ii.9. « 1 Pet. ii. 20. e ib. 18. (Eph. vi. 8. 81 Pet. ii. 23.
ON THE DUTY OF MASTERS TO THEIR SERVANTS.
Col. iv. l. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal ; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven. CHRISTIAN principles will incline masters to esteem true piety as a valuable acquisition in a servant who suits them in other respects. And in the choice of their domestics, like David, they will seek after such as fear God and keep his commandments; knowing how much the comfort of their family, and the best interests of their children, depend on faithful, upright servants.
The following are the duties which devolve on those who have the care of servants :
1. Masters are required to do justice to their servants; remembering that maxim of our Lord, “The labourer is worthy of his hireb.” As servants exert their strength and ability to promote your benefit, they are fairly entitled to a reasonable compensation. Such is the Divine command: “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal ; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaveno; to whom you must give an account of the manner in which you have acted towards the servants whom his providence has placed under your care.
“Give them that which is just;" that is, a reward adequate to their service; and keep not back nor defraud them of the wages which you engaged to give them. Let them never have to complain of having been deprived by you of their proper right, but act honestly towards them on all occasions. • Psalm ci. 4-8.
Luke x. 7. c Col. iv.l.
Take care to provide suitable food for the support of their health, and make their situation as comfortable as you can.
In case of sickness and indisposition, not only procure belp for them in their work, but proper medical advice, to restore them to their former usefulness.
"A good master will not turn away a faithful servant, and send him to an infirmary, because he cannot do his accustomed work, if he bave it in his power to prevent it; but he will consider, that he who has had the benefit of his skill and labour, when well, ought to submit to trouble and expense for hiin, when sick. Yea, if he can afford it, he will copy the example of our Lord, in respect of the aged; who does not forsake his servants in their old age, or when their strength faileth. He will consult the interests of his servants, and be a sincere friend to them in whatever may tend to their confortable settleinent in life."
“ Give them that which is equal.”. Proportion their labours to their natural strength ; and lay no burthen upon them which they are not able to bear, lest they should be injured by severe and oppressive work, and their spirits should be broken.
2. Behave with kindness to your servants. Masters, do not treat them with disdain, or keep them at a distance, by uncivil treatment, or by answering them with harshness, even when they are mistaken; neither express to others unfair suspicions concerning them, nor expatiate on their faults. But endeavour to win them to a sense of duty, when they do wrong, by mild reproof; and encourage them for well-doing, by trying to soften the rigour of ser vitude, by gentle, civil, and huinane bebiaviour 3
remembering your servants are fellow-creatures, equally as estimable in the sight of God, their Creator, as yourselves.
3. As servants are a part of his family, for which he must render an account to God, every master is bound to do all he is able to advance the welfare of their souls. He will so arrange his domestic affairs as to give them every opportunity of worshipping God on the Sabbath, and not prevent their attendance at Church, by company, or visits, or excursions. Not only will masters command their servants to keep the Lord's day holy, but use their authority, also, for enforcing the observance of it. Masters should furnish their servants with Bibles, and read the Scriptures to them, and join with them in family prayer. Nor should any excuse of business or pleasure be allowed to interrupt these daily exercises of devotion.
Besides, he will press upon all his domestics the duty of perusing the Word of God, and praying for themselves in secret ; that thus the Divine blessing may rest upon them, and that they may be training up for the spiritual enjoyments of heaven, which God will vouchsafe to all who have loved him, whether they be masters or servants.
After having instructed them in the way of rightcousness, he will, in the next place, with a view to the same object, deter them from evil, by faithfully declaring the ruinous consequences that must ensue from a careless or wicked life. Hence, he will keep a strict eye on their principles and morals, and prevent their holding intercourse, as much as possible, with bad companions. And he will not suffer them to live in any sinful habit, without plainly telling
them, “ that the wages of sin is everlasting death • ;* which will surely be inflicted on every impenitent soul.
4. And, as masters are often chiefly in fault when the manners of their servants are dissolute, they should take especial care to govern their families with Christian propriety, and suffer no disorders there,
Above all, masters! set a pious example to all under your roof. Abstain from every kind of business and recreation on the Sabbath-day, and, by your regular attendance at the House of God, and devotions and consistency of behaviour through the week, let your servants see that you act honestly from conscience towards God; and that from reverence to His law, you neither talk loosely, swear, indulge in passion, nor live in carelessness and intemperance and unrighteousness, as others do.
By this exemplary conduct, you will check the practice of sin in those about your person, excite them to repent, and turn to God; or, if they should obstinately persist in their wickedness, you will not be chargeable as accessary to it in the sliglitest degree.
5. Finally, let each one of us remember, that the neglect of others, who owe us obedience, service, civility, and love, to fulfil their obligations to us, will not justify us in not performing the duties imposed on us. Though a husband, father, or master, should refuse to discharge their respective duties, yet their culpable omission of duty will not exempt the wife from loving and obeying her husband, the * Rom. vi. 23.
• Rom. ii. 9. H 2