§. 28. Of seruants fraud.
Contrary to the other branch of seruants faithfulnesse in in∣creasing their masters estate, is all manner of theft and fraud, whether it be by retaining that which is due to their masters, or by purloining from them that which they haue. b The Apostle expresly forbiddeth seruants to purloine. The word translated purloine, is the same whereby the fraud of Ananias is set forth, who ckept backe part of the price of a possession which they sold: so as thereby is forbidden not only open and manifest stealth, as pilfering money out of their masters purse, chest, or counter; or conueying away their corne, wares, or any other goods: but also putting more into the account of ex∣pences then hath beene expended, or into the account of debts lesse then is due (as the vniust steward, who for a debt of an hundred measures of oyle put in fiftie, and for an hundred of * wheat put in fourescore) or spending more then needs, or bringing in ill company into the house when their masters are absent, and entertaining them on their masters cost, or concea∣ling part of the price which hath beene taken for any wares, or borowing money in their masters names, or taking greater fees then their masters wot of, or receiuing bribes or gifts which their masters refuse (as Gehazi) or hiring others to doe their worke vpon their masters cost, or inueagling away their ma∣sters * customers, or purloining away other mens goods com∣mitted to their masters trust (as Taylors seruants, who thereby both much discredit their masters, and also hinder their cu∣stome.)
Obiect. What if masters detaine their seruants wages? may they not by priuy meanes right themselues?
Answ. A masters sinne is no warrant to make seruants an∣swer sinne with sinne. The law is as open for seruants as for masters: if not, Gods eares are open for their complaints: he can and will redresse all, or here or hereafter. f Note Iaakobs ex∣ample. Many make this a iust pretence: but whether it be iust or no, it is not safe to open this gap of deceit.
These and such like kindes of deceit are the more hai∣nous sinnes because of that trust which masters repose in ser∣uants: for they violate both the bond of iustice, and of fidelity also. If a seruant imbezill or defraud his master of any of his * goods to the value of forty shillings, he is adiudged a felon by our statute law.