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Things, by which they may both do and suffer more Harm than a lying Tongue.
Truth therefore is a necessary Quality in Servants. And a further one is proper Secrecy. For there is great Unfairness in betraying the Secrets, either of their Malter's Business, or his Family ; or turning to his Disadvantage any Thing that comes to their knowledge by being employed under him ; unless it be where Conscience obliges them to a Discovery ; which is a Case that seldom happens. And, excepting that Case, what they have promised to conceal, it is palpable Wickedness to disclose: And where they have not promised, yet they are taken into their Master's House to be ar fiftants and Friends, not Spies and Tale-Bearers; to do Service, not Harm, to him, and to every one that is under his Roof.
Two other Duties, of all Persons indeed, but in some Measure peculiarly of Servants, are; Sobriety, without which they can neither be careful nor diligent, nor will be likely to continue juft; and Chastity, the Want of which will produce all Manner of Disorders and Mifchiefs in the Family to which they belong, and utter Ruin to themselves,
The last Requisite, which I shall mention, is Peaceableness and good Temper; agreeing with and helping one another, and making the Work which they have to do, easy, and the Lives, which they are to lead together, comfortable. For it is very unfit, that either their Masters or any other part of the Family should suffer through their Ill-humour: and indeed they suffer enough by it themselves, to make restraining it well worth their While.
These are the Duties of Servants: and as the faithful Performance of them is the sureft Way of serving themselves, and being happy in this World; so, if it proceed from a true Principle of Conscience, God will accept it, as Service done to Himself, and make them eternally happy for it in the next: whereas wilfully transgrefling, or negligently fighting, the Things which
they ought to do, whatever Pleasure, or whatever Advantage it may promise or produce to them for a while, will seldom fail of bringing them at last to Shame and Ruin even here, and will certainly bring them, unless they repent and amend, to Misery hereafter.
But think not, I intreat you, that we will lay Burthens on those below us, and take none upon ourselves. There are Duties also, and very neceffary ones, which Masters and Mistresses owe to their Servants.
To behave towards them with Meekness and Gentleness, not imperiously and with Contempt; and to restrain them, as far as may be, froin giving bad Usage one to another ; never to accuse, threaten, or suspect them, without or beyond Reason; to hear patiently their Defences and Complaints; and bear, with due Moderation, their Mistakes and Faults: neither to make them, when in Health, work or fare harder than is fitting ; nor suffer them, when in Sickness, to want any Thing requisite for their Comfort and Relief: if they be hired Servants, to pay their Wages fully and punctually at the Time agreed: if they are put to learn any Business or Profession, to instruct them in it carefully and thoroughly: not only to give them Time for the Exercises of Religion ; but Affistance to understand, and Encouragement to practise, every part of their Duty: To keep them, as much as poffible, both from Sin and Temptation, and particularly from corrupting each other: To Thew Displeasure when they do amiss, as far, and no farther than the Care requires ; and to countenance and reward them, when they serve well, in Proportion to the Merit and Length of such Service. For all these Things are natural Dictates of Reason and Humanity; and clearly implied in that comprehensive Rule of Scripture: Masters, give unto your Servants that which is just and equal; knowing, that ye also have a Master in Heaven'
There are still two Sorts more, of Inferiors and Superiors, that may properly be mentioned under this Commandment: young Persons and elder ; those of low and high Degree. The Duty
of the younger is, to moderate their own Rashness and Love of Pleasure; to reverence the Perfons and Advice of the aged; and neither use them ill, nor despise them, on Account of the Infirmities that may accompany advanced Years ; considering in what Manner they will expect hereafter that others should treat them. And the Duty of elder Persons is, to make all fit Allowances, but no hurtful ones, to the natural Dispositions of young People; to instruct them with Patience, and reprove them with Mildness; not to require either too much or too long Submission from them; but be willing that they, in their Turn, should come forward into the World; gradually withdrawing themfelves from the heavier Cares, and the lighter Pleasures, of this Life; and waiting with pious Resignation to be called into another,
The Duty of the lower Part of the World to those above them, in Rank, Fortune, or Office, is, not to envy them; or murmur at the Superiority, which a wife, though mysterious, Providence hath given them; but in whatever State they are, therewith to be content"; and pay willingly, to others all the Respect, which Decency or Custom have made their Due. “At the same Time, the Duty of those in higher Life is, to relieve the poor, protect the injured, countenance the good, discourage the bad, as they have Opportunity; not to scorn, much less to oppress, the meanest of their Bre
but to remember, that we shall all stand before the Judgment-feat of Chrif"; where he that doth wrong, shall receive for the Wrong which he hath done; and there is no Respect of Persons
And now, were but all these Duties conscientiously observed by all the World, how happy a Place would
m Phil. iv. II.
Col, iii. 25.
* Rom. xiv. 19,
it be! And whoever will faithfully do their own Part of them, they shall be happy, whether others will do theirs or not; and this Commandment assures them of it; that thy Days may be long in the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. In all Probability, if we obey his Laws, and that now before us in particular, both longer and more prosperous will our Days prove in this Land of our Pilgrimage, in which God hath placed us to sojourn : but, without all Question, eternal and infinite thall our Felicity be, in that Land of Promise, the heavenly Canaan, which He hath appointed for our Inheritance; and which that we may all inherit accordingly, He of his Mercy grant, & c.
L E C T U R E
The Sixth Commandment.
before you, mandment, the particular Duties, which Inferiors and Superiors owe each to the other; I proceed now to those remaining Precepts, which express the general Duties of all Men to all Men.
Amongst thefe, as Life is the Foundation of every thing valuable to us, the Preservation of it is justly intitled to the first Place. And accordingly the Sixth Commandment is, Thou shalt do no Murder. Murder is taking away a Person's Life, with Design, and without Authority. Unless both concur, it doth not deserve that Name.
1. It is not Murder, unless it be with Design. He, who is duly careful to avoid doing Harm, and unhappily, notwithstanding that, kills another, though he hath Cause to be extremely sorry for it, yet is entirely void of Guilt on Account of it. For his Will having
no Share in the Action, it is not, in a moral Sense, his. But if he doth the Mischief through Heedlessness, or Levity of Mind, or inconfiderate Vehemence, here is a Fault. If the Likelihood of Mischief could be foreseen, the Fault is greater ; and the highest Degree of such Negligence, or impetuous Rashness, comes near to bad Intention.
2. It is not Murder, unless it be without Authority. Now a Person hath Authority, from the Law both of God and Man, to defend his own Life, if he cannot do it otherwise, by the Death of whoever attacks it unjustly: whose Destruction, in that Case, is of his own seeking, and his Blood on his own Head But Nothing, short of the most imminent Danger, ought ever to carry us to such an Extremity: and a good Person will spare ever so bad a one, as far as he can with any Prospect of Safe. ty. Again, proper Magistrates have Authority to sentence Offenders to Death, on sufficient Proof of such Crimes as the Welfare of the Community requires to be thus punished ; and to employ others in the Execution of that Sentence. And private Persons have Authority, and in proper Circumstances are obliged, to seize and profecute fuch Offenders : for all this is only another Sort of Self-Defence; defending the Public from what else would be pernicious to it. And the Scripture hath said, that the sovereign Power beareth not the Sword in vain. But in whatever Cases gentler Punishments would sufficiently answer the Ends of Government, surely capital ones are forbidden by this Commandment. Self-Defence, in the last Place, authorizes whole Nations to make War upon other Nations, when it is the only Way to obtain Redress of Injuries, which cannot be supported; or Security against impending Ruin. To determine, whether the State is indeed in these unhappy Circumstances, belongs to the supreme Jurisdiction: and the Question ought to be considered very conscientioufly. For Wars, begun or continued with
à 2 Sam, i, 16.
1 Kings ii. 37. Ezek. xxxiii. 4.
b Rom. xiii. 4.