Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.

§. 5. Of masters making their authoritie to be despised.

The aberrations in the defect contrary to the forenamed dutie * and point of wisdome, are many: as

1. When masters carrie themselues basely and abiectly before * their seruants: being light in their behauiour, foolish in their ca∣riage, giuen to drunkennesse, vncleannesse, lewd companie, and other vices. Nabal was such an one: for his seruant could say of him, aHe is a sonne of Belial. Dauid, though he did not giue himselfe ouer to such foule sinnes as these are, yet he oft failed in an vnseemly cariage before his seruants, as when bhe changed his behauiour, and fained himselfe mad, and scrabled on doores, and let his spittle fall downe vpon his beard: and againe, c when he gaue such reines to his passion, for the death of his traiterous sonne Absolom, as his people being ashamed stole away from him, and Ioab his seruant was forced roundly to tell him of it, saying, thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy seruants, &c.

Mistresses oft lose their authoritie by conspiring with their seruants to goe abroad, take away goods, gossip, and doe such other like things priuily without their husbands consent: they make themselues thereby slaues to their seruants, not daring to doe any thing which may offend their seruants, lest they should discouer to their masters such lewd pranks as their Mistresses did.

2. When masters are too remisse and sheepish: intreating and * praying their seruants to doe such things as they ought to com∣mand and require at their hands: and if it be not done, all their remedie is patience, or else to doe it themselues. Howsoeuer this might be counted meeknesse, and gentlenesse towards equals and strangers, ouer whom we haue no authoritie, yet towards seruants it is too base remisnesse: yea it is a relin quishing of that power which God hath giuen, and whereof God will take an account.

3. When masters suffer their seruants to be their companions, *Page  652 playing, drinking, reuelling with them, and saying (as it is in the prouerbe) haile fellowes met. Thus seruants oft take libertie to presume aboue their master: for men are naturally prone to ambi∣tion; and, if an inch be giuen, they will take an ell. They who in this kinde so farre debase themselues, as to giue their seruants power ouer their owne bodie, doe make both themselues, and their true lawfull bedfellow to be despised: themselues, in that such seruants as are so made one flesh, will thinke to keepe in awe such a master or mistresse, as they haue knowne, through feare of reuealing that sinne: their bedfellow, in that such seruants will thinke to be maintained, and boulstered vp by the master or mistresse, whom they haue so knowne. On this ground was dSarah despised in the eyes of Hagar her maid.

4. When masters are ouer-ruled by their seruants to doe any * vniust or vnlawfull thing: as eIoash, who by his seruants was drawne to idolatrie: and fZedekiah, who gaue the Prophet Iere∣miah into his seruants hands, vsing this base and abiect speech, fThe King is not he that can doe any thing against you. Thus will seruants soone proue masters: and if they once come to this high pitch to rule, rather then to be ruled, they will quickly proue in∣tolerable. For g this is one of the foure things noted by the Wise∣man, which the earth cannot beare, namely, a seruant when he reigneth: and h this is one of those euils which proceed from rulers, that seruants ride vpon horses, that is, are aduanced aboue their place and degree: whence it followeth, that hGouernours walke as seruants vpon the earth, they are deiected below their place and degree. It falleth out in this case betwixt seruants and masters, as betwixt scoales, or ballances; if the weights that vse to lie in one ballance to keepe it downe be taken away, it will sud∣denly flie vp, and so the other ballance will be kept downe.