« EelmineJätka »
though the wrong be no greater than the other did him, yet being now done by you, it is your sin.
Quest. But may I not return him to him that I bought him of?'
Answ. No: for that is but injuring him by delivering him to another to continue the injury. To say as Pilate, "I am innocent of the blood of this just man," will be no proof of your innocency, yea, God's law bindeth you to love, and works of love, and therefore you should do your best to free him: he that is bound to help to save a man, that is fallen into the hands of thieves by the highway, if he should buy that man as a slave of the thieves, may not after give him up to the thieves again. But to proceed in the Directions.
Direct. III. So serve your own necessities by your slaves as to prefer God's interest, and their spiritual and everlasting happiness.' Teach them the way to heaven, and do all for their souls which I have before directed you to do for all your other servants. Though you may make some difference in their labour, and diet, and clothing, yet none as to the furthering of their salvation. If they be infidels, use them so as tendeth to win them to Christ, and the love of religion, by shewing them that Christians are less worldly, less cruel and passionate, and more wise, and charitable, and holy, and meek, than any other persons are. Woe to them that by their cruelty and covetousness do scandalize even slaves, and hinder their conversion and salvation.
Direct. Iv. By how much the hardness of their condition doth make their lives uncomfortable, and God hath cast them lower than yourselves, by so much the more let your charity pity them, and labour to abate their burden, and sweeten their lives to them, as much as your condition will allow.' And remember that even a slave may be one of those neighbours that you are bound to love as yourselves, and to do to as you would be done by, if your case were his. Which if you do, you will need no more direction for his relief.
Direct. v. Remember that you may require no more of an innocent slave, than you would or might do of an ordinary servant, if he were at your will, and did not by con
tract except something as to labour or usage, which else you would think just and meet to have required of him.'
Direct. vi. If they are infidels, neither be too hasty in baptizing them, when they desire it, nor too slow.' Not so hasty as to put them on it, before they understand what the baptismal covenant is; or before you see any likelihood that they should be serious in making such a covenant. Nor yet so slow as to let them alone to linger out their lives in the state of those without the church. But hasten them to learn, and stir up their desires, and look after them, as the ancient churches did after their catechumens; and when you see them fit by knowledge, belief, desire, and resolution, to vow themselves to God on the terms of the holy covenant, then put them on to be baptized. But if-you should feel an abatement of your desires of their conversion, because you shall lose their service (much more if ever you had a wish that they might not be converted, which is plain devilism), let it be the matter of your deep humiliation and repentance.
Direct. VII. Make it your chief end in buying and using slaves, to win them to Christ, and save their souls. Do not only endeavour it on the by, when you have first consulted your own commodity, but make this more of your end, than your commodity itself; and let their salvation be far more valued by you than their service: and carry yourselves to them, as those that are sensible that they are redeemed with them by Christ from the slavery of satan, and may live with them in the liberty of the saints in glory.
The Duties of Children and Fellow-servants to one another. It is not easy to resolve, Whether good governors, or good fellow-servants, in a family, be the greater help and benefit, to each of the inferiors. For servants are so much together, and so free and familiar with each other, that they have the more opportunity to be useful to each other, if they have but abilities and hearts. It is needful therefore, that you
know your duty to one another, both for doing and getting that good which otherwise will be lost.
Direct. 1. Love one another unfeignedly as yourselves: avoid all contention and falling out with one another, or any thing that would weaken your love to one another; especially differences about your personal interests, in point of profit, provision, or reputation.' Take heed of the spirit of envy, which will make your hearts rise against those that are preferred before you, or that are used better than you. Remember the sin and misery of Cain, and take warning by him. Give place to others, and in honour prefer others, and seek not to be preferred before them. God delighteth to exalt the humble that abase themselves, and to cast down those that exalt themselves. When the interest of your flesh can make you hate or fall out with each other, what a fearful sign is it of a fleshly mind!
Direct. 11. Take heed of using provoking words against each other.' For these are the bellows to blow up that which the apostle calleth "the fire of hell." A foul tongue setteth on fire the course of nature; and therefore it may set a family on fired. "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." "If ye be angry, refrain your tongues and sin not, and let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devilf." "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." vilers shall not inherit the kingdom of God"."
Direct. 111. Help one another with love and willingness in your labours; and do not grudge at one another, and say such a one doth less than I: but be as ready to help another, as you would be helped yourselves.' It is very amiable to see a family of such children and servants, that all take one another's concernments as their own; and are not selfish against each other. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity i!" Direct. IV. Take heed that you prove not tempters to
a Rom. xii. 10. 16. d James iii. 5, 6. Eph. iv. 31, 32.
b Rom. viii. 6. 13.
e Ver. 15, 16.
h 1 Cor. vi. 10.
c James iii. 6.
Eph. iv. 26, 27. i Psal. cxxxiii. 1.
draw each other to sin and misery.' Either by joining together in riotousness, or wronging your masters, or secret revelling, and then in lying to conceal it: or lest immodest familiarity draw those of different sexes into a snare. Abundance of sin and misery hath followed such tempting familiarity of men and maids that were fellow servants. Their nearness giveth them opportunity, and the devil provoketh them to take their opportunity; and from immodest, wanton dalliance, and unchaste words, they proceed at last to more lasciviousness, to their own undoing. Bring not the straw to the fire, if you would not have it burn.
Direct. v. Watch over one another for mutual preservation against the sin and temptations which you are most in danger of.' Agree to tell each other of your faults, not proudly or passionately, but in love; and resolve to take it thankfully from each other. If any one talk foolishly or idly, or wantonly and immodestly, or tell a lie, or take God's name in vain, or neglect their duty to God or man, or deal unfaithfully in their trust or labour, let the other seriously tell him of his sin, and call him to repentance. And let not him that is guilty take it ill, and angrily snap at the reprover, or justify or excuse the fault, or hit him presently in the teeth with his own; but humbly thank him and promise amendment. O how happy might servants be, if they would faithfully watch over one another!
Direct. vi. When you are together, and your work will allow it, let your discourse be such as tendeth to edification, and to the spiritual good of the speaker or the hearers.' Some work there is that must be thought on, and talked of while it is doing, and will not allow you leisure to think or speak of other things, till it is done: but very much of the work of most servants may be as well done, though they think and speak together of heavenly things; besides all other times when their work is over. O take this time to be speaking of good to one another: it is like, that some one of
you hath more knowledge than the rest; let the rest be asking his counsel and instructions, and let him bend himself to do them good; or if you are equal in knowledge, yet stir up the grace that is in you, if you have any; or stir up your desires after it, if you have none. Waste not your precious time in vanity; multiply not the sin of idle words. O
what a load doth lie on many a soul that feeleth it not, in the guilt of these two sins, loss of time, and idle words! To be guilty of the same sins over and over, every day, and make a constant practice of them, and this against your own knowledge and conscience, is a more grievous case than many think of; whereas, if you would live together as the heirs of heaven, and provoke one another to the love of God, and and holy duty, and delightfully talk of the Word of God, the life to come, what blessings might you be to one another? and your service and labour would be a sanctified and comfortable life to you all. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, and may minister grace to the hear"But fornicaers, and grieve not the holy Spirit of God i." tion and all uncleannesss, or covetousness (or rather, inordinate, fleshly desire) ;let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks." Of this more anon.
Direct. VII. Patiently bear with the failings of one another towards yourselves, and hide those faults, the opening of which will do no good, but stir up strife: but conceal not those faults which will be cherished by concealment, or whose concealment tendeth to the wrong of your master, or any other.' For it is in your power to forgive a fault against yourselves, but not against God, or another. And to know when you should reveal it, and when not, you must wisely foreknow which way is like to do more good or harm. And if yet you be in doubt, open it first to some secret friend, that is wise to advise you, whether it should be further opened or not.
Direct. VIII. If weakness, or sickness, or want afflict a brother, or sister, or fellow-servant, be kind and helpful to them according to your power. "Love not in word only, but in deed and truth!."
Eph. iv. 29.
* Eph. v. 3, 4.
11 John iii. 18. James. ii,