Christian oeconomie: or, A short survey of the right manner of erecting and ordering a familie according to the scriptures. First written in Latine by the author M. W. Perkins, and now set forth in the vulgar tongue, for more common vse and benefit, by Tho. Pickering Bachelar of Diuinitie.
Perkins, William, 1558-1602., Pickering, Thomas, d. 1625. aut

CHAP. 16.

Of the Seruant.

THe Seruant, is a person in the family subiect vnto his master.

The dutie of a seruāt is, faithfully and dili∣gētly to demeane him∣selfe in the affaires of his master, and to doe seruice vnto him as vnto Christ, though he be froward and hard-harted. Titus 2. 9. Let seruants be subiect to their masters, and please them in all things, not answering againe. Ephes. 6. 5. Seruants, be Page  157 obedient to them that are your masters ac∣cording to the flesh, with feare & trembling, in singlenes of your hearts, as vnto Christ. Col. 3. 22. Thus Iacob serued Laban, Gen. 31. 38. This twentie yeares haue I bin with thee; thine ewes and thy goates haue not cast their yong, and the rammes of the flocke haue I not eaten, &c.

Contrariwise, the seruant must take heed that he doe not his masters busi∣nesse negligently, or for fashion sake, or with eye-seruice as a man-pleaser; that in case of rebuke or controlement, he answere not againe; lastly, that hee be trustie & withhold his hands from pic∣king, and his heart from deceiuing his master.

Seruants are of two sorts; either free, or bond-seruants.

A free-seruant is he, whom his ma∣ster hireth for wages to do him seruice. To him belongs the iust paiment of his hire, and in case of offence, them master hath authoritie to censure and correct him, prouided that in the execution thereof, respect bee had vnto his age, and the correction be vsed with mode∣ration, Page  158 as if hee were his sonne.

A bond-seruant, is a seruant bought for money, and is commonly called a slaue. Touching this sort, a question is moued, whether a Christian may with safe conscience, haue and vse a man as his slaue?

Answ. The power & right of hauing bond-men, in those countries where it is established by positiue lawes, may stand with good cōscience, if it be vsed with moderation. That authoritie in this behalfe is moderate, wherein these seuen caueats be obserued.

I. That the master haue not ouer his seruant the power of life and death; for this takes away the lawful power of the Magistrate, to whom only the Lord hath committed the sword of iustice.

II. That there be not libertie gran∣ted him, to vse his seruant at his owne will and pleasure in all things; for this was not granted by the law of God to his owne people: Exod. 21. 26. If a man smite his seruant or his maid in the eye, and hath perished it, he shall let him go free for his eye: Also if he smite out his seruants or Page  159 his maids tooth, he shall let him go out free for his tooth.

III. That the power be not enlar∣ged to the commanding of things a∣gainst piety or iustice; for in these cases a man must rather obey God then man, Act. 4. 19.

IV. That masters do not take liber∣tie to make separation of those their ser∣uants that be married, the one from the other, or of those that be parents from their children; considering that God himselfe hath made these societies, and ioyned such persons together, and therefore man may not separate them.

V. That the masters do not take li∣bertie to put ouer their seruants to vn∣godly and vnbelieuing masters, for that is an vnkind and cruell libertie, & may be an apparāt occasion to make the ser∣uant fall away from religion, and re∣nounce the true God.

VI. That they do not bind them to perpetuall slauery, & neuer make them free. Exo. 21. 5. But if the seruant say thus, I loue my master, my wife and my children, I will not go out free.

Page  160 VII. That the seruitude be not pro∣cured and retained by force; for it is a more grieuous crime to spoile a man of his libertie, then of his riches.

Now yt the same power limited with these cautions, is lawfull & warrantable in cōsciēce, it appears by these reasons.

I. God hath ordained & allowed it, euen by warrant of his owne law: The posteritie of Cham was cursed by Noah, and condemned to slauerie, Gen. 9. 25. And he said, Cursed be Cham, a seruant of seruants shal he be to his brethren. So were the Gibeonites by Ioshua, Ios. 9. 23. Now therefore yee are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bond-men, and hewers of wood, & drawers of water, for the house of my God. So was the theefe, Exo. 22. 3. If he had not wherewith to make resti∣tution, then hee should bee sold for his theft. Again, those that are ouercome in war may be held captiue, and it is lawful for the conquerer to kill them, & therefore to make them slaues: and if being takē, they be saued from death, they owe all that they haue to them by whom they are saued.

Page  161II. The law of God gaue libertie to any mā that would, to make sale of him∣selfe to another. Leuit. 25. 45. Of the chil∣dren of the strangers that are soiourners a∣mong you, of them shal ye buy, & of their fa∣milies that are with you, which they begat in your land, these shall be your possessiō. Deut. 15. 12. If thy brother an Hebrew sell himself to thee, or an Hebrewesse, and serue thee six yeares, euē in the seuenth yeare thou shalt let him go free from thee: and vers. 17. Thou shalt take an aule, & pierce his eare through against the doore, and he shall be thy seruant for euer.

III. The mā that is ransommed frō his enemie, is bound to serue as a slaue in liew of thankfulnesse.

IV. The examples of the godly in the Scriptures. Abraham had seruants whom he bought for siluer, Gen. 17. 12. Euerie manchild of eight daies old among you, shal be circumcised in your generations, as well he that is borne in thine house, as he that is bough with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. Gen. 24. 35. The Lord hath blessed my master Abraham wō∣derfully— for he hath giuen him sheep and Page  162 beeues, and siluer and gold, & men-seruants and maid-seruants, and camels and asses.

V. The Apostles do not disallow of such seruāts, but cōmand thē being ser∣uants, & called to the professiō of Chri∣stianitie in that state, not to change, but to abide in their calling. 1. Cor. 7. 21. Art thou called being a seruant? care not for it.

It is alledged that such seruitude is a∣gainst the law of nature. Ans. It is indeed against the law of intire nature, as it was before the fall, but against the law of corrupted nature since the fall, it is not.

But Christ hath purchased liberty to belieuers, Coloss. 5. 11. Ans. Only a spiri∣tuall libertie in this life; & a corporal on∣ly in the life to come. For though y ser∣uant in regard of faith & the inner man be equal to his master, because in Christ Iesus there is neither master nor seruāt, bond nor free; yet in regard of the out∣ward man & ciuill order amongst men, the master is aboue the seruant, and the seruant is, & must be subiect to the ma∣ster.* Neuerthelesse where this kind of seruitude is abolished, it is not to be a∣gaine receiued or intertained amongst Page  163 Christians, specially considering, it is a far more milde and moderate course to haue hired seruants.

If it be said againe, that the Heathen Philosopher holdeth seruitude to be na∣turall, wherby some are by birth bond, and others free. I answere, That serui∣tude proceedeth not of nature,* but hath his originall from the lawes of nations, and is a consequent of the fall. For all men by nature are equally & indifferēt∣ly free, none more or lesse then others.