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thankful to God, who for a little bodily labour, doth free you
from the burden of all these cares.
Direct. 11. “Take your condition as chosen for you by God, and take yourselves as his servants, and your work as his, and do all as to the Lord, and not only for man; and expect from God your chief reward.' You will be else but
eye-servants and hypocrites, if the fear of God do not awe your consciences: and if you were the best servants to yoạr masters in the world, and did not all in obedience to God, it were but a low, unprofitable service : if you believe that there is an infinite distance between God and man; you may conceive what a difference there is between serving God and man: your wages is all your reward from man, but eternal life is God's reward : and the very same work and labour which one man hath but his years' wages for, another hath everlasting life for (though not of merit, yet of the bounty of our Lord)a. Because he doth it in love and obedience to that God who hath promised this reward. “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: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men ; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance ; for ye serve the Lord Christ: but he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons b.” The like is in Ephes. vi. 5–8. So much doth God respect the heart, that the very same action hath such different successes and rewards, as it is done to different ends, and from different principles : your lowest service may be thus sanctified and acceptable to God.
Direct. 111. ' Be conscionable and faithful in performing all the labour and duty of a servant.' Neglect not such business as you are to do: neither do it lazily, and deceit-fully, and by the halves. As it is thievery or deceit for a man in the market to sell another the whole of his commodity, and when he hath done, to keep back and defraud him of a part; so is it no less for a servant that selleth his time and labour to another, to defraud him of part of that time and service which you sold him. Think not therefore that it is no sin, to idle away an hour which is not your own, or
a Rom. vi. 23.
b Col. üi. 22–25.
to slubber over the work which you'undertake to do. Slothfulness and unconscionableness make servants deceitful: such care not how they do their work, if they can but make their masters believe that it is done well: they are hypocrites in their service, that take more care to seem painful, trusty servants, than to be so; and to hide their faults and slothfulness, than to avoid them. As if it were as easy to hide them also from God, who hath resolved to punish all the wrong they do their masters. If they can but loiter and take their ease, and their masters know it not, they are never troubled at it as a sin against God: laziness and fleshlymindedness do so blind them, that they think it is no sin take as much ease as they can, so they carry it fair and smoothly with their masters, and to slubber over their business any how, so that it will but serve the turn : whereas if their masters should keep back any of their wages, or put more work upon them than is meet, they would easily be persuaded that this were a sin. If your labour be such as would hurt your health (as by wet or 'cold, &c.) you may foresee it, and avoid it in your choice of places : but if it is only the labour that you grudge at, it is a sign of a fleshly and unfaithful person; as long as it is not excessive to wrong your health, nor hurt your souls, by denying you leisure for your duty to God. The Lord himself commandeth you to “be obedient in singleness of heart, as unto Christ, not as eye-servants; and whatever you do, to do it heartily, knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord d.”
Direct. iv. · Be more careful about your duty to your masters, than about their duty or carriage to you.' Be much more careful what to do, than what to receive; and to be good servants, than to be used as good servants. Not but you may modestly expect your due, and to be used as servants should be used; but your duty is much more to be regarded; for if your master wrong you, that is his sin, and none of yours : God will not be offended with you for another's faults, but for your own; not for being wronged, but for doing wrong: and it is better suffer the greatest wrong, than offend God by committing the smallest sin.
Direct. v. Be true and faithful in all that is committed c. Col. iii. 25.
d Eph. vi. 5, 6. 8. Col. üi. 23.
to your trust: dispose not of any thing that is your master's without his consent :' though you may think it ever so reasonable, or well done, yet remember that it is none of your own; if you would relieve the poor, or please a fellow-borvant, or do a kindness to a neighbour, do it of your own, and not of another's, unless you have his allowance. Be as thrifty for your masters, as you would be for yourselves. Waste no more of his goods, than you would do if it were your own. Say not as false servants do, my master is rich enough, and it will do him no harm, and therefore we may make bold, and not be so sparing and niggardly. The question is not, what he should do, but what you should do? If you take any of your rich neighbours' goods or money, to give to the poor, you may be hanged as thieves, as well as if you stole it for yourselves. To take any thing of another's against his will, is to rob or steal: let the value be never se small, if it be but the worth of a penny that you steal or defraud another of, the sin is not small: nay, it aggravateth the sin, that you will presume to break God's law for such a trifle, and venture your soul for so small a thing; though it be taken from one that may never so well spare it, that is no excuse to you; it is none of yours. Especially let those servants look to this, that are trusted with buying and selling, or with provisions. If you defraud your masters, because you can conceal its believe it, God that knoweth it will reveal it; and if you repent of it, you must make restitution of all that ever you thus robbed them of, if you have any thing to do it with ; and if you have nothing, you must with sorrow and shame confess it to them, and ask forgiveness ; but if you repent not, you must pay dearer for it in hell, than this comes to. Object. ' But did not the Lord.commend the unjust steyarde? Answ. Yes, for his wit in providing for himself, but not for this unjustness. He only teacheth you there, that if the wicked worldlings have wit to provide for this life, much more should you have the wit to make provision for the life to come. It is faithfulness that is a steward's duty":
Direct. vi. Honour your masters, and behave yourselves towards them with that respect and reverence as your place requireth.' Behave not yourselvesrudely or contemptuously towards them, in word or deed. Be not so proud as to disdain to keep the distance and reverence which is due. You should scorn to be servants, if yoa scorn to behave yourselves as servants. Give them not saucy, provoking or contemptuous language; not wording it out with them in bold contending, and justifying yourselves when your faults are reprehended. Mark the apostle's words, Tit. ii.9, 10. “ Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." And 1 Tim, vi. 14. “Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honour;" (yea, though they were infidels or poor) “ that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” (For wicked men will say, 'Is this your religion ?' when servants professing religion, are disobedient, unreverent, and unfaithful.) "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren ; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort: if any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words--- he is proud, knowing nothing."
e Luke xvi. 8. f 1 Cor. iv. 2. 8 Exod. xx. 12. Rom. xiü.7.
Direct, vii. 'Go not unwillingly or murmuringly about your business, but take it as your delight.' An unwilling mind doth lose God's reward, and man's acceptance. Grudging and unwillingness maketh your work of little value, be it never so well done. “Do service heattily, and with good will as to the Lord.”
Direct. vill. * Obey your masters in all things' (which God forbiddeth not, and which their place enabłęth them to command you;) and set 'not your own conceits and wills against their commands. It is not obedience, if you
will do no more of their commands, than what agreeth with your own opinions and wills. What if you think another way best, or another work best, or another time best; are you to govern or obey? If the work be not your's,' but another's, let his will and not your's be fulfilled, and do his service in his own way. It is God's command,
“ Servants obey your masters in all things k.”
Eph. vi. 7. Col. iii. 23.
i Acts x. 7.
k Col. iii. 22.
Direct. ix. Reveal not any of the secrets of your masters’, or of the family!' Talk not to others of what is said or done at home; be not over familiar at other men's houses, where you may be tempted to talk of your masters' businesses ; many words may have mischievous effects, which were well intended. That servant is unfit for a wise man's family, that hath some familiar abroad, to whom he must tell all that he heareth or seeth at home'; for his familiar hath another familiar, and so a man shall be betrayed by those of his own household “, as Christ by Judas.
Direct. x 'Grudge not at the meanness of the provisions of the family. If you have not that which is needful to your health, remove to another place as soon as you can, without reproaching the place where you are. But if you have your daily bread, that is, your necessary, wholesome food, how coarse soever, your murmuring for want of more delicious fare, is but your shame, and sheweth that your hearts are sunk into your bellies, and that you are fleshlyminded persons :
Direct. xi. “Pray daily for a blessing on your labours and on the family, both privately and with the rest.' A praying servant may prevail with God, for more than all their labour cometh to ; and their labours are liker to be blessed, than the labours of a prayerless, ungodly person. You are not worthy to partake of the mercies of the family, if you will not join in prayers for those mercies.
Direct. XII. Willingly submit to the teaching and government of your masters about the right worshipping of God, and for the good of your own souls.' Bless God, if you live with religious masters that will instruct you and catechise you, and pray with you, and restrain you from breaking the Lord's day, and other sins, and will examine you of your profiting, and watch over your souls, and sharply rebuke you when you do that which is evil. Be glad of their instructions, and murmur not at them, as ignorant, ungodly servants do. These few Directions carefully followed will make your service better to you, than lordships and kingdoms are to the ungodly.
| Prov, xxv.9. xi. 13.
m Mic. vii. 6.
» Phil. iii. 18, 19.