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S E R M.ty and Good-JVill i And in the Latter part XV. of the chapter, he recommends to them
Lrvvthe Relative Duties of life; the Duties of Husbands and Wives, of Children and Pa-r rents, of Masters and Servants, of 5«/er/orj and Inferiors in <:// Relations. Children, obey your Parents in all things? ^or TKr « well-plea/ing unto the Lord: Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged: Servants, fi~ bey in all things your Masters according ta the FJefi.
I N discoursing upon these words; I shall, First, distinctly take Notice of the several Particulars contained in the Text: And, Secondly, I shall thence deduce this General Observation; that the due Performance of the Relative Duties of Life, is a principal Means of obtaining both the Blessings of the present World, and the Happiness of That which is to come.
i. In the First place, That which, stands first and most obviousty observable in the Text, is this Precept j Children, obey your Parents. In his epistle to the Ephestans, the fame Apostle expresies this Precept Thus: Children, obey your Pai rents rmts in the Lordfor This is Right: Ho-S E R M, now thy Father and Mother , which is the XV. first Commandment with Promise, ch. vi. 1.^"*^ In which expression, there is an allusion to the Order or Placing of the Commandments in the Law of Moses; This being the First in the Second Table, the First' of those Commandments which declare our Duty towards Men; the First to which is annexed exprefily a particular Reward; the First Commandment with Promise. The natural observation arising from which particular, is, the reasonableness and goodness of the Great Commandments of God both in the Law and the Gospel. God begins where Nature itself does; making the same things to be the prime Foundations of His Law, which in the nature of things themselves, without Any Law, were most reasonable to be practised. The Gospel carries indeed This and all other Moral Precepts to a much higher degree , of improvement, requiring us to extend our Love towards all men, and our Desire of doing good even unto Enemies themselves. But the prior obligation, is That of Gratitude to Benefactors j
S e R M .factors; and of making just Returns to XV*. Those, from whom we have received the ,-/'v~v' Benefits of Life. Nevertheless, as clear as this Obligation is, both in the Nature of Things and in the Command of God j yet not Irreligion and Atheiim only, but Superstition also has found means to evade This, in like manner as it does all other moral and eternal Obligations. God, (fays our Saviour, Matt. xv. 4. God) commanded, faying, Honour thy Father and Mother: But Ye fay, Whosoever shall fay to bis Father or his Mother, it is a Gift by whatsoever thou mightejl be profited by Me, (that is, "tis given to the Service of the Temple, or to some other of what they then called pious Uses,) he shall be free; he' shall be discharged from all Obligation to relieve his necessitous Parents. Thus (fays our Lord) ye have made the commandment ef God of none EffeSl by your Tradition. Notions somewhat of the lame nature have, in All Ages of the World, prevailed over superstitious and corrupt Minds; teaching them to value things that promote outward Pomp and Show, and Distinctions of Men under Party-Denominations,
nominations, more than Obedience to the S E R M. eternal and unchangeable Duties of God's XV. , Morel Lfir.
idly, The Next thing proper to be taken notice of in the Text, is, that the Particulars here mentioned of the Duty of Children and Servants, are Only Instances of the General Exhortation, designed to extend proportionably to persons in Ail Relative Stations and Circumstances of Life whatsoever. As Rom. xiii. 7. Render to All, their Dues j Tribute, to whom tribute is due; custom, to whom custom; fear, to whom fear; honour, to whom honour. To Magistrates, there is. due from the Subject Obedience according to the Laws of the Country, in matters not opposite to the Law of God j Peaceableness and Quietness under Government, and a willing Contribution towards the Support of it. To Teachers, or Spiritual Superiors, there is due from the People Such Respect, as to Stewards of the Mysteries cf God, appointed to exhort Men continu-ally to the Practice of Virtue, and to assist in all the Administrations of Religion: Towards These, there ought to be in men
Se R M.a Willingness to hear and be informed by XV. them, and a readiness to observe and prao tise what they teach; not blindly and implicitly, (which is the Doctrine of Rome,) but in all things which they can show to be the Doclrine and Commands of God. To Masters, there is due from Servants Diligence and Industry, Honesty and Fidelity, Submission and Obedience, according to the direction in the Text; Servants,
obey your Masters according to the Flejh j
not with eye-service, as men-pleafers, but in singleness of Heart, fearing God; Jlnd whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto Men. In like manner, Eph. vi. 7. With goodwill (fays he) doing Service, as to the Lord, and not to men.f Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the feme shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. The only difference hefe to be observed, is, that whereas the Servants mentioned by the Apostle, were, in those days, Slaves, under the absolute Power of their Masters, without Any Relief under the greatest opppessions; ( for which reason St Peter exhorts Such to be patient under the