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.
Page  646

The eighth Treatise. Duties of Masters.

§. 1. Of the heads of Masters duties.


EPHES. 6. 9.
And yee Masters doe the same things vnto them: forbearing threatning: Knowing that your Master also is in heauen: neither is there respect of persons with him.

IN the last place the duties of masters are declared by the Apostle, and that in this verse, where he noteth,

  • 1. The kindes of their duties.
  • 2. A Reason to enforce the same.

The kindes are set forth Generally (doe the same things.)
Particularly (forbearing threatning.)

The reason is taken from that subiection wherein masters are to an higher master (knowing that your master also.) And it is amplified,

  • 1. By the equall subiection of masters and seruants to that master (your also.)
  • 2. By the place where that master is (in heauen.)
  • 3. By his property, in this phrase (neither is there respect of persons with him.)

Because the seuerall duties of masters are here but pointed at, and infolded vnder generall termes, I will (as in former Page  647 treatises hath beene done) propound a distinct order, where∣by we may the better finde out their duties, and handle them one after another.

All may be drawne vnto these two heads.

  • 1. Care in choosing good seruants.
  • 2. Conscience in well vsing them.

For well vsing their seruants, masters must haue an eie to their place, and authority: and in respect thereof,

  • 1. Wisely maintaine their authority.
  • 2. Rightly manage the same.

The well managing of their authority is generally noted in this phrase, doe the same things: but more particularly in a ano∣ther place referred to these two branches

  • 1.
    Iustice.
  • 2.
    Equity.

Of these in order.

§. 2. Of masters choosing good seruants.

The first thing that a man, who taketh vpon him to be a master, must take care of, is to entertaine good seruants into his seruice. bMine eies (saith Dauid) shall be vpon the faithfull of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a per∣fect way he shall serue me. What doth this phrase (mine eies shall be vpon the faithfull) imply, but that he will diligently and carefully inquire after such: yea mine eies (saith he) not another mans eies: he would not put all the trust vpon others: he would himselfe make what proofe and triall he could. Such an emphasis hath this phrase (mine eies) where cIob saith; whom I shall see for my selfe, and mine eies shall behold, and not an∣other for me.

1. Seruants are of all other things (except wife and chil∣dren) * of best and greatest vse. If then men be carefull in well choosing other things, as houses, land, houshold-stuffe, horses, and all manner of cattell (as men are very circumspect therein) should they not be much more carefull in well choosing seruants?

2. Thus will masters shew that they seeke, and aime at the good of their family: yea and in their family at the good of Church and common-wealth: for good members of a family are likeliest to proue profitable to Church & common-wealth.

Page  648 3. When good seruants are chosen, there is hope of recei∣uing the more good from them, and doing more good vnto them. They will be pliable to all good admonition, docible by all good instruction, seruiceable in all things they take in hand.

Obiect. A master may make a bad seruant to become a good one.

Answ. There is a great hazard and venture therein, espe∣cially if they be growne to ripe yeares: no creature is easily tamed, or brought from the naturall course it hath taken, af∣ter it is growne vp: a bough that hath growne crooked many yeares together will hardly be made straight. It is not in mans power to make a bad seruant good: neither can man expect Gods blessing therein, when he obserueth not a right course warranted by God.

Quest. What course is fittest for choice of seruants? *

1. If they be young, see how they haue beene from their in∣fancy educated. Great is the benefit of good education: and much good may be expected from thence: for it is the means which God hath sanctified for good.

But if they be growne to ripe yeares, choose such as feare God, such were they vpon whom dDauid cast his eies.

On this ground did e Saint Paul aduise Philemon to take Onesimus againe, because grace was then wrought in his heart.

1. Gods feare is the ground of all good obedience and * faithfulnesse: note the examples of such good and faithfull seruants as are commended in Scripture, and you shall finde them all to feare God.

2. Such will not only be diligent in their worke, but they will also faithfully call vpon God to prosper those things which they take in hand in their masters be∣halfe, instance the example of fAbrahams seruant.

3. God will haue such respect vnto those seruants which feare his name, as for their sakes to blesse their masters house. Thus was gPotiphars house blessed for Iosephs sake.

2. Make some triall of their fitnesse to that calling, worke Page  649 and seruice whereunto thou shalt put them. From such there may be hope of profit & benefit by their seruice. hLaban made triall of Iaakob a moneth before he couenanted for any long continuance.

3. Take such especially as are of meane and poore estate, and know not how to maintaine themselues but by seruice. Thus will a double worke of charitie be done therein: and thus maist thou looke for better seruice: for commonly such are most industrious, and most obedient to their masters.

Obiect. When men haue taken all the care they can in their choice, they may be deceiued.

Answ. 1. Then much more likely is it, that if they be carelesse therein, they shall be deceiued.

2. Diligent, and wise search, is a meanes to finde out the dispo∣sition and abilitie of seruants.

3. If hauing vsed the meanes men be deceiued, they may haue the more comfort in bearing the crosse, because they haue not wittingly or carelesly pulled it vpon themselues.

§. 3. Of masters carelesnesse in chusing seruants.

Contrary is their carelesnesse, who are ready to receiue any into their house, euen Atheists, Papists, swearers, swaggerers, profane wretches, vncleane persons, and such like, against whom Dauid protesteth, he would not haue him that worketh deceit to dwell in*his house; nor him that telleth lies to tarrie in his sight. They who entertaine such, make their houses to be cages of vncleane birds, seminaries of wicked persons, and vnprofitable members: for one scabbed sheepe is enough to infect a whole flocke. No mar∣uell though many mischiefes fall vpon such a familie: for a man were as good bring so many Snakes and Adders into his house, as such persons: yea with them is brought Gods curse. Can any good then be looked for? Such foolish masters regard neither themselues, nor their houshold: no nor yet Church or Com∣mon-wealth. If none would entertaine such, it might be a meanes to make them alter their condition.

Many are not only carelesse in chusing good seruants, but also except against such as are religious; thinking it a matter of re∣proach to entertaine them. By which conceit they oft put away Gods blessing from their house.

Others so stand vpon a great portion of money with a prentise, Page  650 or a clerke, or other seruant, as they will take none but rich mens children. Whence it commeth to passe, that this point (which is a great point) of charitie is neglected: persons most vnfit for ser∣uice are entertained, and such many times as scorne to doe seruice. Thus their masters grow weary of them: the seruants lose their time: neuer proue to be their crafts-masters: and their parents repent the giuing of such a portion with them.

§. 4. Of masters maintaining their authoritie.

After that masters haue chosen good seruants, their dutie is well to vse them: which by reason of the difference betwixt masters and seruants cannot be well done, except masters wisely maintaine their authoritie. A master therefore must be able awell to rule his owne house: this is a dutie which the Apostle in particular requi∣reth of a Bishop, who is master of an house, but it appertaineth in generall to all masters of families. Women also who by vertue of their places are mistresses, are commanded bto guide the house, or to rule, and performe the part of a mistresse therein. It was the c Centurions commendation, that hauing seruants vnder him, he had them at his command.

1. Gods image and authoritie, which a master carrieth, is thus pre∣serued.

2. Thus shall a master haue much better seruice done. Not one ser∣uant of a thousand, that is not kept vnder authoritie, will doe good ser∣uice. A like dutie to this was enioyned to an husband in relation to a wife, Treat. 4.

§. 4. Some of the reasons, directions, & other points there handled, may be here applied. Read it therefore.

For this end three things are to be obserued. *

1. That masters carrie themselues worthy of their place, and worthy of that honour which is due to them: which may best be done by making themselues a patterne of such good things as in their places appertaine to them. dI and my house will feare the Lord, saith Iosuah: he would not only put them to it, but he also would doe it, he would goe before them. I will behaue my selfe wisely, I will walke within my house with a perfect heart, saith *Dauid.

2. That masters keepe their seruants in awe and feare. e Chil∣dren must be kept in subiection: much more seruants.

Page  651 3. That masters doe the things which they doe in their cariage towards their seruants with authoritie: Command, forbid, rebuke (to vse f the Apostles phrase) with all authoritie. The manner of speech which the Centurion vsed to his seruants (ggoe, come, doe this) sauour of authoritie. So the Church taking vpon her the person of a mistresse, vseth a word of authoritie, hI charge you not to doe this.

§. 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.

§. 6. Of masters too great rigour.

The contrary in the excesse is too great rigour and aufterity manifested in looke, speech, and actions.

1. In looke, when a master cannot cast a good eie on his ser∣uant. iIaakob was much discountenanced by the countenance of his master. Many masters by their continuall frowning browes, and fiery eies, doe much terrifie their seruants.

2. In speech, when masters cannot giue a good word to their Page  653 seruants, but if they be moued neuer so little, cast vpon them all the reproachfull names that they can call to minde: little thinking of this fearfull doome, kWhosoeuer shall say, thou foole, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Thus did Saul manifest a malitious and mischieuous minde against Ionathan and Dauid by the foule language he gaue. Some haue such a froward and peruerse tongue, as they can neuer speake directly to their seruants: but if they command or forbid a thing, they will doe it after such a manner as their seruant can scarce tell what they meane: and this not only when their seruant hath offended them, but in their best mood. So shrewish are others, as their tongues seldome lie still: but they are euer chiding vpon euery small occasion: whereby it commeth to passe that their seruants are no more moued with it, then the Doues, and Stares that continually abide in Belfraies, are moued with the ringing of bels. Such bitternesse also is mixed with the childings of many, as they belch out of their blacke mouthes, most direfull imprecations. What can be said of such tongues, but that they are lset on fire of hell? As other aberrations wherein masters are reproued, are to be applied to mistresses, so this especially. For mistresses doe commonly most offend in shrewishnesse of speech.

3. In actions, when masters are too frequent, and too furi∣ous * strikers: striking their seruants on euery occasion, not ca∣ring how they strike. In these and other like euidences of too much austeritie and plaine arrogancy masters forget that they are men. Though for outward order a master be more excel∣lent then a seruant, yet as a man he ought to iudge himselfe equall. This extreme can be no good meanes to maintaine authoritie: but it is a plaine abuse thereof. Masters ought so * to carrie themselues as their seruants may rather reuerence, then dread them.

§. 7. Of masters commanding power restrained to things lawfull.*

That a master may the better know how to maintaine his authoritie, I will distinctly declare the extent of his power, and that in these foure particulars, 1. In Commanding. 2. In Cor∣recting. 3. In ordering the mariage of their seruants. 4. In dispo∣sing their person.

Page  654 Within the lists of these two vertues Iustice and Equitie (whereunto all the duties which masters owe their seruants shall * afterward be referred) must the commanding power of masters be bounded.

  • 1. Iustice requireth two things,
    • 1. A restraint of masters commandements.
    • 2. An execution thereof.

The restraint is vnto Gods law, that a master command no∣thing against it, but what is agreeable to it. Abishai would * faine haue had Dauids warrant to haue killed Saul: but Dauid was so farre from commanding him to doe it, as he kept him from it.

Masters are but subordinate ministers vnder God: they must therefore command nothing against his law. As a Iudge, high-Sheriffe, and all other officers vnder the King, must make the Kings law the ground of all those things which they require of the Kings subiects: so masters must make Gods law the ground of all those things which they require of their ser∣uants, who are also the seruants of Christ. Besides, to what purpose is it to command that which a seruant may and must refuse to doe? But in no * vnlawfull thing may he obey.

§. 8. Of masters presuming aboue their authoritie.

Contrary is the arrogancie and presumption of many ma∣sters, who make their owne will the rule of their seruants obe∣dience. This must needs be a leaden rule, which may be bowed this way, that way, and euery way, because of the flexible and variable humour of man. Hence is it that many most vile and horrible things are commanded, because they are agreeable to the commanders humour. Absolom bid his seruants commit a most detestable murder vpon his owne brother, and note how he presseth it, Haue not I commanded you?*

More presumptuous is he that taketh vpon him to be the * great commander of all Christians, the Pope of Rome, and other masters and gouernours of Iesuites, Friers, Monkes, and other like orders, who command such as are vnder their au∣thoritie to commit treasons, raise rebellions, kill Kings, and doe other like execrable villanies.

And to iustifie the Pope from whom all inferiour gouer∣nours Page  655 receiue their power, and by whose will they must be ru∣led, these blasphemous positions doe Papists hold of his po∣wer, He can doe all things of right as God. He is as God hauing*on earth fulnesse of power. If he shall draw with him innumerable soules of men into hell, yet none may say to him, what doest thou? Doth not the Apostles * description of that man of sinne, the sonne of perdition, agree to him of whom those things are spo∣ken? Is he not in Papists account, as God, shewing himselfe that he is God? Which is further confirmed by that power which they giue him of making lawes to binde the conscience, and coining new articles of faith.

Not only popish, but profane masters also too much exceed in this presumptuous vse of their power aboue their power: as they who enioyne their seruants to kill, to steale, to sweare, to forsweare, to lie, to giue false measures, and weights, to goe to masse, to profane the Sabbath, with other like sinnes. In all these, and all other things like to these, being against Gods law, masters haue no power to command: they goe aboue their commission: and shall accordingly answer for it.

§. 9. Of masters commanding seruants to doe their dutie.

2. The execution of a masters commanding power con∣sisteth in those things which God hath enioyned as bounden duties. These a master by vertue of his authoritie must com∣mand his seruants to doe: as to worship God, to sanctifie his Sabbath, to be diligent and conscionable in his calling, with other like duties, which God compriseth vnder these words, the way of the Lord, righteousnesse and iudgement: and saith that he knew that Abram would command his houshold to doe them.*

The charge giuen to masters in the fourth commandement concerning seruants, (thou nor thy man-seruant, nor thy maid∣seruant)* proueth as much. Iosiah is commended for causing his*people to stand to the couenant of God. On this ground if a ma∣ster haue seruants that are papists, separatists, or profane per∣sons, he ought to command them, and cause them to goe to the holy ordinances of God.

It is one of the principall ends why God hath giuen power and authoritie to some ouer others, that by their authoritie they may cause them which are vnder them to obserue the Page  656 commandements of God: euen as inferiour officers haue au∣thoritie giuen them, to see the Kings lawes kept.

§. 10. Of the sinne of masters in suffering seruants to neglect their dutie.

It is contrary to that commanding power which God hath giuen to masters, to suffer their seruants to omit, and neglect those bounden duties which God hath commanded them: as if a seruant be so popish or profane as to refuse to goe to the word, or Sacrament, or to performe any dutie whereunto he is bound, to let him alone. Though they themselues doe those duties, and though they doe not hinder and keepe their ser∣uants from doing them, yet if they cause not their seruants also to doe them, they make themselues accessarie to their ser∣uants sinne.

Obiect. Euery mans conscience is free, and cannot be forced; therefore masters may not compell seruants to such things as are against their conscience.

Answ. Though the conscience be free to a man, and out of anothers power, yet their outward actions are not free: and though faith, pietie, righteousnesse, nor any grace can be forced into men, yet they may be forced to vse the meanes which God hath sanctified for the breeding and increasing of them. Though they cannot be forced to haue a religious and righte∣ous heart, yet they may be forced to doe religious and righte∣ous duties: or if a master cannot force these, yet he may and ought to doe his vttermost endeuour: by which means though he cannot free his seruant from death, yet he shall free his owne soule from the guilt of his death.

§. 11. Of a masters wisdome in ordering things indifferent.

Equitie hath respect to those things which are in a masters power to command or not command: such are all ciuill acti∣ons as concerne himselfe, concerning the particulars whereof God hath giuen no direct charge for an absolute performance of them: as to goe of such an errand, to doe such a message, to dispatch such a businesse. Concerning these things I may say of a masters power, as the Apostle doth of a parents power in * another case; If he seeth it meet to be done, and commandeth his seruant to doe it, he doth well, he sinneth not. If he seeth it Page  657 not meet to be done, and commandeth it not, he doth also well, he sinneth not. Of this kinde of things speaketh the Centurian, * where he saith, I say to one, goe, to another, come, to a third, doe this.

The marke which masters must aime at in commanding or forbidding these, must be expediency: for all things that are*lawfull, are not expedient. Expediency dependeth much vpon circumstances, and consequences which may follow vpon the doing of any thing: in obseruing whereof the wisdome of him who hath power to haue a thing done, or not done, especially appeareth. When Dauid suffered not Hushai his good friend, * and wise counseller, to goe with him when he fled from Ab∣solom, but bid him returne to the citie and there abide, he had an eie to the good consequence that might follow thereupon. And when Ioab commanded Cushi rather then Ahimaaz to * carrie the newes of Absoloms death, he had an eie to the meet∣nesse of the persons, and to the kinde of message.

To apply this to our purpose, Equity requireth that ma∣sters (in commanding things indifferent, which they haue power to command or not to command) haue an eie to their seruants ability, sex, age, disposition, conscience, and other like circumstances, that the thing which they command be some∣what agreeable to them, not aboue their ability, not vnbesee∣ming their sex, not vnfitting their age, not thwarting their dis∣position, not against their conscience.

§. 12. Of masters offence against expediency.

It is contrary to equity for a master to regard only himselfe, and his own mind, euen in things that are lawfull. Paul was not * of this minde, when he said, He sought not his owne profit: no nor his owne will. Expediency and inexpediency were great motiues vnto him, to forbeare things which were otherwise lawfull: yet little is this regarded by many: for

1. Many command things to the very vttermost of their ser∣uants strength, if not aboue it, (as Pharaoh) or else things dan∣gerous, * which may bring much mischiefe vpon them. Dauid* was touched in heart for mouing only by a wish his seruants to fetch him water with the danger of their liues.

Page  658 2. Others against comelinesse put men to doe maids workes, and maids to doe mens worke.

3. Others vpon meere partiality keepe vnder old and good seruants, and preferre much younger before them.

4. Others will forcibly make seruants doe things against their naturall disposition, as to handle, yea and eat such things as they cannot endure to touch or see.

5. Others in doubtfull matters will vrge and presse them against their conscience.

Howsoeuer in these and other such like things not vnlaw∣full, seruants ought to doe what they can to satisfie their ma∣sters command, if he be peremptory in vrging them: yet ought not a master to be too peremptory in pressing his authoritie and power.

§. 13. Of the power of masters to correct their seruants.

The second point wherein a masters power consisteth is cor∣rection: which may be giuen by lookes, words, or deeds.

By a mans looke his anger and wrath against another is manifested. * In Hebrew the same word signifieth a face, and wrath: because wrath soonest sheweth it selfe in a mans face. It is noted of Cain, that being very wrath his countenance fell*downe, Gen. 4. 5. Now the manifestation of a masters wrath a∣gainst his seruant is a correction.

But words whether of rebuke, or threatning, doe much more declare the same. This phrase which Solomon vseth Pro. 29. 19. (a seruant will not be corrected with words) sheweth that there is a correction by words: and though it be negatiuely pro∣pounded, yet doth it not imply that correction by words is not to be vsed to a seruant, but rather, if thereby he be not mo∣ued, that blowes must be added thereto: which is a correction by deeds, whereof Christ maketh mention in the parable of those seruants that according to the greatnesse of their fault are * to be beaten with many stripes. It is therefore in a masters power to correct his seruant with stripes, or blowes. Which being so, I will shew,

  • 1. How farre his power herein extendeth.
  • 2. How it is to be ordered.

Page  659

§. 14. Of the restraint of masters power: that it reacheth not to their seruants life.

Concerning the extent of a masters power in correcting his seruant, this question is to be resolued, Whether a master haue power for any fault to take away his seruants life.

Answ. His power reacheth not so farre, as is euident by these reasons.

1. There is no precept, nor approued example, nor any other warrant out of Gods word for it. The Iewes had great power ouer such seruants as were strangers: Of them they might*buy bond-men and bond-maids: they might haue them for a pos∣session: and take them for an inheritance for their children after them, to be bond-men for euer: they might be put to the most toyling, droyling, base, and abiect workes that they had, as drawing water, hewing wood, and the like; but yet their ma∣sters * had not power ouer their liues.

2. A master might not dismember his seruant: if vnawares he did smite out an eie or tooth of his seruant, he must make a recompence: which was to let him goe free. Much lesse there∣fore * might he take away his seruants life.

3. If a seruant died vnder his masters hand when he cor∣rected him, though he intended not wilfully to murder him, that master was to be punished. It was not therfore lawfull for * a master wittingly to kill a seruant.

4. The power of life is proper to the publike magistrate, who doth all things in open publike places, that so there may be many witnesses of his iust proceeding. If masters had this power, many might priuily be put to death, and no man know for what cause, as it is in popish inquisitions.

5. * The approued lawes of men make it wilfull murder for a master to slay his seruant wittingly, though the seruants fault be neuer so hainous. Neither the authority of the master, nor desert of the seruant, shall exempt the master that slayeth his seruant from the guilt and punishment of felony.

Obiect. In ancient times masters had this power.

Answ. They neuer of right had it, though some might ex∣ercise it. Among Gods people it was neuer exercised in any age of the world. That liberty which was taken, was among Page  660 the heathen: and yet among them as polities came to be more * and more ciuilly gouerned, that vsurped liberty by the lawes of Magistrates was much restrained: and when Emperors and Kings became Christians, it was vtterly taken away.

Obiect. If a man take an enemie by warre, he hath power to kill him.

Answ. If in the time of the warre he slay him not, but then spare him, and take him as a captiue, and make him his ser∣uant, though but a bondslaue, he hath not power of his life.

§. 15. Of masters excesse in correcting seruants.

Contrary to their iust and due power doe they, who in their rage stab their seruants, or otherwise make them away: yea they also who so vnmercifully and vnmeasurably beat them with rod, cudgell, or any other thing, as death follow there∣upon: for many there be who hauing once begunne to strike, know not when to cease, but lay on as if they were striking stocks and blocks, and not their owne flesh. God foresaw that masters were prone to such cruelty, and therefore a set a stint number of stripes, which none that beat another might ex∣ceed.

Among these may be reckoned such desperate masters as in their moode will strike their seruant with any thing that com∣meth next to hand, be it heauy, cragged, hard, or sharpe, they care not (bAs a mad man who casteth fire-brands, arrowes, and death.) These things may endanger a seruants life, if not, they may breake his head, or otherwise wound, bruise, and lame him.

It is beyond a masters power by any correction to impaire life, health, or strength of his seruant, or any way in his body to disable him from doing that which otherwise he might haue beene able to doe.

If masters, no not for punishment of any sinne, may not take away or endanger the life of his seruant, what may we thinke of such masters, as without any fault of their seruants, cause them to be made away by putting them vpon some de∣sperate attempt, either to maintaine their owne quarrell, or for some other vniust end? cDauid dealt thus with Uriah: but afterwards he d sorely repented this part of iniustice. At ano∣ther Page  661e time when three of his seruants had fetched him water, which he longed for, with ieopardy of their liues, though in safety they returned, yet his heart smote him for his longing, and he would not drinke of that water because they had ventu∣red their liues to fetch it.

But what may we say of such masters, as cause their seruants for their sakes to commit felony, murther, treason, rebellion, and such other things, as cause the publike magistrate to vn∣sheath his sword against them, & cut them off? We noted this * before to be a grienous fault in regard of the vnlawfulnesse of the thing: here further we may note it to be much more hainous in regard of the mischiefe that followeth thereupon, which is the losse of their seruants life: so as thus they make themselues accessary to a detestable sinne, and guilty of the bloud of their seruant.

§. 16. Of masters ordering that correction they giue to their seruants.

2. That masters may well order that correction which they giue to their seruants, difference must be put be∣twixt the age, sex, disposition, and faults of those whom they correct.

1. Masters ought not to be so forward to strike such as are growne in yeares, as the younger sort. Yeares bring vn∣derstanding, and a rebuke will make one of vnderstanding more sory for a fault, and more carefull to amend it, The direction prescribed to pa∣rents (Treat. 6. §. 47.) for well ordering that cor∣rection which they giue to their chil∣dren, may in many points be here fitly applied. Read it. then blowes: smart more workes vpon the younger sort. But if notwithstanding their yeares they be stout, and will not regard words, their stoutnesse. must be beaten downe with blowes. aSmite a scorner, saith the wise man: and againe, Iudgements are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the backe of fooles.

Seeing seruants in yeares are in this case to be corrected, it is further requisite to put a difference betwixt the kinde or measure of correction which is giuen to them, and to the younger sort: if they be corrected as children, they may either Page  662 make a toy of it, or the more disdaine at it. cBlewnesse, wound, and stripes piercing into the inward parts of the belly, are a pur∣ging medicine against euill, to stout seruants of ripe yeares.

2. If there be a master and mistresse ioynt gouernours ouer an house, it is fittest for the master to correct men-seruants, the mistresse maids. *Abraham put his maid ouer to Sarah in such a case. Yet if a maid should wax stout, and mannish, and turne against her mistresse, she being weake, sickly, with child, or otherwise vnable to master her maid, the master may and must beat downe her stoutnesse and rebellion: e so much did the law of God permit.

3. If seruants be of an ingenious disposition, willing and forward to doe that which belongeth vnto them, sorry when they haue committed a fault, and carefull to amend their faults, many things may be passed ouer in them, which must be corrected in others. To this may be applied the coun∣sell of the wiseman, Take no heed to all the words that are*spoken.

4. Correction must be measured according to the great∣nesse * of the fault punished, and the circumstances whereby the fault may iustly be aggrauated. The seruant that knew his masters will and did it not shall be beaten with many stripes: But he that knew not and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes, Luk. 12. 47, 48.

Many aberrations are daily committed contrary to euery branch of this direction, in that masters and mistresses in exer∣cising this part of their power are carried away with passion, and doe that which they doe in this kinde after their owne pleasure. Thus they turne a dutie into sinne, and by vndue cor∣recting of their seruants prouoke God to correct them in his wrath, either here or in the world to come.

§. 17. Of masters power ouer their seruants in and about their mariage.

The third point to be noted concerning a masters power ouer his seruant, is about his seruants mariage. Sundry que∣stions Page  663 are moued about this point, which I will briefly resolue.

1. Quest. Haue masters power to order and dispose their seruants mariage as they please?

Answ. No, not without the free consent of the seruants themselues: for mariages must be made with the free consent of the parties that are maried.

Obiect. The law implieth that a master hath power to giue * his seruant a wife, for it sheweth whose those children shall be that are borne to that seruant, to whom a master hath giuen a wife.

Answ. 1. That law is to be vnderstood of such seruants as being strangers were bond-slaues, ouer whom masters had a more absolute power then ouer others.

2. The masters power of giuing did not simply force the seruant to marie the party so giuen: but restrained the seruant from marying any other then whom the master should giue.

2. Quest. Is not a masters power in the matter of mariage as great ouer a seruant, as a parents ouer a childe?

Answ. No. See the reason Treat. 5. §. 20.

3. Quest. May a master denie his seruant liberty to marie?

Answ. Yea, for the time that the seruant hath couenanted to be a seruant with his master. For that time a seruant is part of his masters goods, and possessions. As bond seruants were a masters possession for euer: so couenanted seruants are his possession for the time of their couenant. When God gaue the deuill leaue to seize on all that Iob had, by vertue of that * permission he seized on all kindes of Iobs seruants bond and free, as well as on his goods: which he could not haue done, if Iobs seruants had not beene as his goods.

Yet notwithstanding if seruants shall make it knowne to their master, that necessity requireth they should marie, such respect ought to be had to the chastity euen of seruants, as in this case I may vse the phrase with the Apostle vseth in reference to children, Let them be maried.*

4. Quest. What if seruants marie without consent of ma∣sters, is that mariage nullified thereby?

Answ. No. The mariage being otherwise rightly per∣formed, * remaineth a firme mariage: though the seruants in Page  664 so doing haue sinned: for which their master may iustly pu∣nish them.

5. Quest. May a master keepe his seruants so maried with∣out his consent from their bed-fellowes?

Answ. He may exact the whole time of his couenant for seruice: but that power which by the bond of mariage hus∣bands and wiues haue ouer one anothers bodies, suffereth * them not to be altogether separated one from another. Be∣sides, our law freeth a maid-seruant when she is maried, from her masters couenant.

§. 18. Of masters rigour in forcing mariages on seruants: or in separating man and wife.

Contrary to a masters power doe they, who force their ser∣uants to marie whom they like not: as when a master hath defloured his maid, to couer his shame he will make one of his seruants marie her.

They also doe contrary to their power who seeke to sepa∣rat their seruants that are maried from their bed-fellow: some will keepe the man at his house day and night from his wife, and so the wife from her husband: others will send one of them into remote parts of the land, where the other shall not know: yea others will be sure to keepe them one from ano∣ther, for they will send one of them beyond sea for many yeares together, if not for euer. These practises are against the law of mariage, and too rigorous and vniust.

§. 19. Of masters power to dispose their seruants persons.

The fourth point to be noted of a masters power ouer his seruants respecteth their persons, which so properly belong to a master for the time of their seruice, as he may not only keepe them himselfe for his owne seruice, but also passe them ouer, and giue, or sell them to another. By Gods law not only * strangers, but Iewes also might be sold for seruants.

The customes and statutes of our land doe also permit ma∣sters * to make ouer their seruants from one to one: and on their death-beds to bequeath them to whom they will, euen as their goods and possessions.

That this power be not abused, in the executing thereof, Page  665 masters must principally respect the good of their seruants: and for that end put them ouer to fit masters, such masters as may doe them good and not euill, all the time of their abode with them, and seruice vnder them.

Contrary hereunto doe they, who aime meerely at their owne aduantage, not caring to whom they put ouer their seruants, so they may make gaine thereby. Some will sell them, namely, when they haue them beyond sea, to Turks and Infidels; some to Pa∣pists, and other Idolaters; some to profane persons; some to cruell inhumane beasts; some to men of vnlawfull trades; some to men of no trades. Such masters as make their seruants ouer to such as these are, or like to these, shall answer for all the wrong is done to them.

§. 20. Of masters well managing their authoritie.

This Apostle in * another place giueth this charge to masters, Giue vnto your seruants that which is iust and equall.

By doing these two things masters shall well manage their authoritie.

Iustice respecteth the place, and seruice of seruants. *

Equitie respecteth their minde, and manner of doing seruice.

All seruants, in that they are seruants, and doe their masters worke, must haue that which of right belongeth to seruants. This is Iustice.

Such seruants as beare an especiall loue and liking to their masters, doing seruice not by constraint, or with eye-seruice, as men-pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart with good will, and all good faithfulnesse, seeking to the vttermost of their power, their masters good, must be accordingly respected and dealt withall. This is Equitie. As the Apostle compriseth Iustice vnder this phrase (doe the same things) for seruice giue due recompence: so more especially he compriseth Equitie vnder it: for seruants good will and more then vsuall respect of their masters, let masters returne good will, and more then ordinarie respect to seruants. S. Peter noteth these two vertues vnder two other words, good,*gentle: A masters goodnesse hath relation to Iustice: his gentle∣nesse to Equitie.

Page  666

§. 21. Of masters endeuouring the saluation of their seruants.

That Iustice which is required of masters respecteth the soule, bodie, and estate of their seruants.

In respect of their soules good, masters must seeke the spiri∣tuall * edification of their seruants. When Zacheus first beleeued, Christ said, Saluation is come to this house (Luk. 19. 9.) why to this house, rather then to this person, but because he knew that Zacheus would doe the dutie of a good master, and seeke the sal∣uation of his houshold? Herein must masters beare an impartiall respect to all in their house: as the holy Fathers, who though about temporall goods they put difference betwixt the place of children, and condition of seruants; yet in seruing God, where∣in eternall happinesse is looked for, they did with an equall re∣spect prouide for all the members of their house. The proofes alleadged for seruants obedience to masters care in this point, doe shew that this dutie appertaineth to masters. See Treat. 7. §. 15.

The respect which masters owe to God, themselues, their ser∣uants, the Church, and Common-wealth where they liue, requi∣reth as much.

1. God hath commanded as much (Deut. 6. 7.) as this charge implieth, Thou shalt talke of my Lawes when thou sittest in thine house: and God hath manifested his approbation thereof, by commending Abraham for commanding his children and house∣hold to keepe the way of the Lord, Gen. 18. 19.

2. Masters themselues reape great benefit by a faithfull dis∣charge * of this dutie: and that both by discharging a good consci∣ence to God, (who requireth this at their hands, in that he hath made them prophets and priests in their house, as well as kings; and will require an account of them for all that are vnder their gouernment:) and also by bringing their seruants to doe more faithfull seruice to them. For there is no such meanes to stirre vp seruants to doe all good dutie, as the feare of God planted in their hearts. That seruant that shall finde true grace either first wrought, or further increased in him by his mastersmeanes, will thinke him selfe so beholding to such a master, as he shall neuer be able to make any sufficient recompence, & therefore will endeuour to do what good seruice he can in way of thankfulnes: he will not only be faithfull & diligent in his businesse, but he will call vpon God Page  667 to prosper his seruice for his masters good, and to recompence that kindnesse which his master hath done to him.

3. No earthly thing that a master can doe for his seruant (be it portion of money, preferment to any place of profit or credit, or skill in a good trade and calling) can be comparable to the edify∣ing of a seruant in grace.

4. Seruants well instructed in pietie are likeliest to proue most profitable not only to the familie, but also to the Church and Common-wealth where they liue.

That masters may the better edifie their seruants,

1. They must daily instruct them in the principles of religion, * and all duties of pietie: admirable is the profit which will arise from a daily and constant vse of religious exercises: though but a little time be spent at once, yet will much knowledge be gained by a frequent vse of them. This dutie is so much the more ne∣cessarie, because publike Ministers cannot take such particular notice of euery seruant in their Parishes, as masters may in their families.

2. Masters must cause their seruants to goe to the publike mini∣sterie of the word, and worship of God, to be further built vp thereby, and confirmed in their faith. Masters vnder the Law were * commanded to let their seruants eat of the Passeouer, which was a solemne sacrament. The Law which enioyneth all males to ap∣peare * on the solemne feast dayes before the Lord, implieth that seruants also should goe. This dutie must especially be performed on the Lords day: for the charge giuen to masters in the fourth commandement for sanctifying that day, is extended to seruants in these words, Thou, nor thy man-seruant, nor thy maid-seruant.

3. Masters, beside instructing seruants at home, and causing them to goe to Church, must take an account of their profiting, both by the publike, and also by the priuate meanes of edification. Otherwise they shall not know how to order their manner of in∣structing them: when to giue them milke, & when strong meat.

4. To make the meanes more effectuall and profitable, they must to instruction adde prayer. Meanes, without Gods blessing vpon the meanes, are nothing. As they obserue any grace wrought in their seruants, they must be thankfull vnto God for the same, and pray for the increase of it.

Page  668

§. 22. Of masters neglecting to edifie their seruants.

Contrary is the minde and practise of most masters: they thinke if they allow their seruants sufficient diet, lodging, and clothing, or wages according to their couenant, they haue done all that they need to doe: and answerably they doe no more: wherein they shew themselues no better then the heathen. For doe not the heathen so?

Obiect. At first taking of a seruant no more was couenanted.

Answ. There are two couenants whereunto a master standeth bound: one with God; the other with his seruant. Though his couenant with his seruant requireth no more then some tempo∣rall commodities, yet Gods couenant requireth spirituall edifica∣tion. Many masters are so greedie of their seruants worke, as they are loth to afford any time, at morning or euening, for religious exercises: they thinke by their seruants labour to thriue, and thinke not of Gods blessing which maketh rich. Some goe so far therein, as they keepe their seruants from the publike worship of God, euen on the Lords day. Thus it commeth to passe, that ser∣uants, who came ignorant and profane to a master, after long abode with him, so goe away as they came. Many that themselues make some conscience of fearing God, much faile herein: they re∣gard not to teach their seruants the feare of God, whereby they depriue themselues of much blessing, and pull Gods curse vpon their persons and houses.

§. 23. Of allowing seruants sufficient food.

In regard that seruants haue not bodies of brasse, or steele, * but of flesh and bloud as all others, masters that haue the benefit of their strength and abilitie of their bodies, must be carefull of nourishing, and cherishing them: and that both in health, and sicknesse.

For preseruing seruants health, respect must be had to their Food, Clothing, Labour, Rest.

A due prouision of food for seruants is commended in Solo∣mons* good house-wife, who giueth meat to her houshold. And in the direction which he giueth to housholders, in these words, Let the milke of thy goats be sufficient for thy food, and for the food of thy family.

The food which masters prouide for their seruants must be Page  669 for qualitie, good and wholesome; for quantitie, sufficient to preserue health and increase strength; for time, giuen in due season. It is noted that the hired seruants of the father of the * prodigall childe had bread (by bread according to the Scripture phrase is meant all kinde of needfull wholsome food: in which sense it must needs be there taken, because it is opposed to huskes, which are not very wholsome, fitter for swine then men) yea they had bread enough. It is further noted of that good steward who was, as a master, ruler ouer the houshold, that * he gaue the houshold their portion of meat in due season.

Quest. May not seruants be stinted of their food?

Answ. In regard of superfluitie they may and ought to be stinted, but not in regard of sufficiencie. It is not meet that all seruants should haue as much as they can deuoure: for then ma∣ny of them would doe but little worke: but most meet it is that euery one should haue as much as is needfull for strength, that so he may be the better able to doe and endure his worke: the Greeke word translated in the * place before quoted por∣tion, implieth as much.

There is a double bond to tie masters to performe this dutie: one in regard of themselues: the other in regard of their seruants.

Masters themselues shall haue the profit and benefit of the health and strength of their seruants: for their owne sakes therefore it is requisite to afford them sufficient food. Men that desire to haue their worke well done by their beasts, or in their iourney to be well carried to the end thereof, will be care∣full that their beasts shall be well fed.

But beside this, considering the health and strength of ser∣uants is spent in their masters businesse, iustice requireth that their health and strength should be repaired and preserued by them.

§. 24. Of defect and excesse in allowing seruants food.

There are two extremes contrary to this dutie. One of those that are too niggardly, and (as we speake) miserable in the allowance of food to their seruants: and that sometimes in the quantitie, when seruants bellies are too much pinched: euen so as their bodies are weakned for want of food. The Prodi∣gall Page  670 childe was thus serued: these are both vniust and iniuri∣ous * masters: vniust to their seruants: iniurious to their ser∣uants, and themselues too. Sometimes againe such miserable masters offend in the qualitie of that food which they giue to their seruants, as when it is kept too long, and growne musty, mouldy, or otherwise vnsauoury: or when the worst kinde of food, for cheapnesse sake, is bought, euen such as is scarce fit for mans meat: the more abundance that there is of such stuffe, the more loathsome it is.

Lastly, though I thinke it not meet to binde masters vnto set houres for their seruants meales (Christ affordeth a greater * libertie vnto masters, in the parable of a masters vsage of his seruant after he came from his worke) yet there may be a fault, as there is, in many masters, in keeping their seruants too long from meat, not suffering them to interrupt their worke for meat sake, but to tarry for their supper till ten a clocke at night, when they giue ouer worke: surely this cannot be good for the bodies health and strength.

Another extreme doe such masters fall into, as bring vp their*seruants too delicatly. Solomon hath expresly taxed such, and noteth that this mischiefe is like to follow thereupon, he shall haue him become his sonne at the length: such a seruant will for∣get his place, scorne to be as a seruant, but aspire to be as his masters childe, which is next to a masters mate.

§. 25. Of masters care about their seruants apparell.

A wise care for seruants cloathing is also commended in the example of Solomons good housewife, She is not afraid of the snow for her houshold, that is, for the coldest season in win∣ter, for all her houshold are clothed with*double garments: that is, with such clothing as is fit for cold weather.

Fit and decent apparell is both a meanes of preseruing health, and also a matter of good report, tending to the credit of a master. Yet contrary is the humour of many: they care not how tagged and ragged their seruants apparell is: insomuch as many ser∣uants haue neither comely nor warme apparell.

The Hebrew word is oft vsed for scarlet. But accor∣ding to the proper notati∣on of it, it signifieth things doubled: which I take to be most pertinent to this place, and therefore I haue so translated it. The Kings translators haue noted as much in the margin.

Page  671 This point concerneth those masters especially that finde their seruants (as we speake) and prouide all things for them: as in old time masters did for most seruants, and as now they doe for prentises whether male or female. If seruants by coue∣nant be at their owne finding for apparell, masters are not so strictly bound therein: yet they must haue a care that their ser∣uants fall neither into the one extreme of too base, slouen-like, or sluttish apparell, nor into the other of too garish, or too costly apparell. Masters hauing authority ouer their seruants, must keepe them in order and good compasse, and haue respect to decencie in this as in other things. For apparell is one of those outward signes whereby the wisdome of masters and mi∣stresses in well gouerning their seruants is manifested to the world. If therefore seruants be attired vnseemly for their place and abilitie, all that see them will thinke their masters and mistresses are of such a minde as the seruants are, or at least too remisse and carelesse of their gouernment.

§. 26. Of moderating seruants labour.

Though labour and paines be proper to a seruants place, yet he may be so put vnto it, as the health and strength of his body may be impaired thereby. For the well ordering of this therefore a dutie lieth vpon masters: and that in two things especially.

1. That they well moderate the labour whereunto they put their seruants, so as they may be able for the time to vndergoe it, and to endure so long as their time of labour is appointed. It was a good reason which Saul rendred to keepe Dauid from * entring combat with Goliah, because (as he thought) Dauid was not able to fight against the Philistim, Dauid being a youth, and Goliah a man of warre.

And indeed if Dauids faith had not exceeded the strength of his body, it had beene vnmeet to haue put Dauid to that taske.

They which are put to things aboue their abilitie, are like to faile, and sinke vnder the burden of them.

It is contrary hereunto to put seruants to such hard taskes Page  672 as impaire their strength, endanger their lims, and venture their liues. Saul shall rise vp in iudgement against such: for he supposing that it was too hard a taske for Dauid to vndertake combat with Goliah, was loth to put him to it. Dauid excee∣dingly * failed herein, when he gaue direction that Vriah should be set in the forefront of the hottest battell, and yet the Generall * with his strength to retire from him. Many seruants being put to seruices aboue their strength, either lose their liues there∣by, or (as we speake) are neuer their owne men againe.

It is also a fault in this kinde, to put seruants to such toiling * workes as are fitter for beasts then men: or to oppresse them with too much worke, as the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites. Let Gods hearing the cry of those seruants so oppressed, and reuenging their oppressors for it, make all masters take heed * of the like crueltie.

§. 27. Of affording seruants fit meanes for their worke.

2. The other thing required of masters for wel ordering their seruants worke is, that they afford their seruants things need∣full, and behouefull for that worke whereunto they are put: which minde was commendable in Saul, who assaied if his * armour might be fit for Dauid when he was to goe against Go∣liah. To reckon vp all the particulars were an infinite taske: euery seuerall trade and worke hath proper meanes of helpe appertaining to it: this generall direction may be sufficient to moue masters to applie it to the particular workes and seruices whereunto they put their seruants. Fit meanes are such an helpe, as that which with them may easily be done, without them can hardly, if possibly at all be done.

It is contrary hereunto to deale with seruants as the Egypti∣ans did with the Israelites, exacting worke at their hands, and * not affording them meanes to doe it: whereby many times they exact impossibilities. Some will haue much worke done in the night time, and not afford candle light: so in other par∣ticulars.

§. 28. Of affording seasonable rest to seruants.

Intermission, ease, and rest from labour at seasonable times, is as needfull and requisite, as food and apparell. The reason which God rendreth of the fourth commandement sheweth Page  673 that masters ought to afford rest to their seruants: it is this, that*thy seruant may rest.

Without intermission and rest the body cannot endure la∣bour: it will wax weake, faint, and vtterly vnable to continue: but, as labour decaieth strength, so rest repaireth it.

There are two especiall times of rest, which seruants may not be denied.

  • 1. The rest of the night.
  • 2. The rest of the Lords day.

The first is ordinary for all liuing creatures: for it was one * principall-reason why God caused the light of the Sunne to be withdrawen from the face of the earth, that the inhabitants thereof might rest from their labour. Vntill the euening man * goeth forth vnto his labour and worke. Time of darknesse is more fit for rest then worke. Let not this be so taken as if no worke were to be done, after the light of the day is taken away: (then would but little worke be done in the depth of winter, when the daies are short: and then would not God haue affor∣ded artificiall lights) but to shew that difference must be made betwixt the day and night: and that the night is affor∣ded for that time wherein men are most to rest.

The other time of rest (being the Sabbath day) is by di∣uine * institution. It was sanctified vnto man in the time of Adams innocency, when he stood as a publike head and stocke of all mankinde. The very name Sabbath, (which in Hebrew signifieth rest) and the expresse prohibition of doing any worke on that day, doe shew that it is a day of rest: and that one end thereof was for seruants to rest therein, is euident by the reason thereof, that thy seruant may rest. So as there is a double bond to tie masters to afford rest to their seruants on the Lords day:

  • 1. The bond of piety to God.
  • 2. The bond of charity to seruants: for in that God did thinke it meet for seruants to rest one day in seuen, we ought to * thinke that it is needfull and behouefull for them.

§. 29. Of denying seasonable rest to seruants.

Contrary to both the forenamed times of rest doe many masters offend: as first, they who make their seruants watch Page  674 too long at night, and againe, rise too soone in the morning, not affording so much time of rest and sleepe as is needfull for refreshing their bodies, and repairing their strength: whereby it commeth to passe that (beside the wrong done to their poore seruants) their worke cannot be done so well.

Obiect. It is said of the forenamed good houswife, that her*candle is not put out by night.

Answ. That is a tropicall speech: and some-what hyperboli∣call. The word night is put for a part thereof. The phrase on∣ly implieth vigilancy, shewing that she is not, as many, in the euening betimes in bed, and in the morning late vp; but late downe and early vp. This phrase (she riseth while it is yet night)* vsed before, sheweth that that which I haue noted, is the true sense. If not putting out her candle by night, should imply a sit∣ting vp all night long, how could it be said that she riseth vp?

Quest. What time may be thought sufficient to afford sleepe * vnto seruants?

Answ. As the same quantity of food is not ouer-strictly to be proportioned to all alike, so nor the same continuance of sleepe. Yet by experience it hath beene obserued that for sound and healthy bodies, fiue houres is the least time that may be allowed, and seuen houres is time sufficient for any.

§. 30. Of masters offence in keeping seruants from the rest of the Lords day.

2. Against the rest of the Lords day, doe too too many ma∣sters offend: as

1. By keeping seruants at their ordinary worke on that day.

2. By sending them vp and downe on that day on many er∣rands, as to gather vp debts, or to doe such other seruices as they are loth to afford time for on other daies.

3. By making that the greatest day of paines and labour, namely to such as are in the kitchin, or haue any other businesse about feasts: for the Lords day is by many ordinarily made a day of feasting.

4 By keeping them vp too late on Saturday nights: euen till one of the clocke. Many that make some conscience of the Lords day vse to offend herein: for that their seruants might Page  675 not worke on that day, they keepe them vp till the very mo∣ment that they thinke the Sabbath beginneth: but herein they commit a double fault: one in not allowing their seruants sufficient time of rest: another in making them vnfit through want of sleepe to doe the holy seruices of the Lords day.

§. 31. Of allowing time of recreation to seruants.

Concerning times of recreation, I may say as the Apostle doth in another case, I haue no commandement of the Lord,* namely expresse commandement to presse vpon the conscience of masters any set time for recreation: yet questionlesse it is ve∣ry meet that seruants should haue some times to refresh them∣selues this way: for recreation rightly vsed is a great meanes to put life, and adde spirit, to youth especially. With worke and businesse not only mens bodies, but their mindes also are occupied and imployed: herein the labour and trauell of men differeth from the labour of beasts: for refreshing therefore both of body and minde is good and moderate recreation needfull. But I referre this point to the wise consideration of masters themselues, who may better by their owne obseruati∣on discerne what in this kinde is fittest, then we prescribe.

§. 32. Of masters care ouer their seruants in sicknesse, and af∣ter death.

Masters prouident care for the good of their seruants is not to be restrained to the time of their health, but to the time of their sicknesse also, if it please God to visit them while they are in seruice. Wherefore all things needfull are in this case to be prouided for them by their master. First spirituall comfort for their soule, that so they may the better beare their infirmity: then such things as may for the present giue them ease and re∣freshing, and also, if it please God to adde his blessing, worke a recouery. The care of the Centurion for his sicke seruant is * in Scripture commended: he did as much for his seruant as he could haue done for his sonne: The King of Arams care also * was in this kinde commendable: he did not forbeare to write to his enemie, and to make himselfe beholding to him, in the behalfe of his seruant that was leprous.

If the seruant haue beene formerly a faithfull, diligent, and * profitable seruant, recompence requireth as much. For it is Page  676 a most vnkinde, and inhumane part to denie that seruant suc∣cour in sicknesse, who in health hath beene profitable to his master.

But if a master be carefull of his sicke seruant, affording vnto * him the best meanes he can for his ease, and recouery, and that seruant, through Gods blessing vpon the meanes, recouer, he will, if he haue any sparke of goodnesse in him, hold himselfe so obliged to his master, as he shall neuer be able to make suf∣ficient recompence: and thereupon be moued to vse all the di∣ligence he can for his masters good: so that a master may reapebenefit to himselfe by this kinde of kindnesse.

But though the seruant that is sicke haue in former time * beene vnprofitable, and there be little hope of future benefit by him, yet for charity sake, and in subiection to Gods dispo∣sing prouidence, whereby that seruant is fallen sicke in his ma∣sters house, must he in that case be well looked vnto. If the Sa∣maritan * did well in taking care of a meere stranger out of his house, because he saw him succourlesse, surely that master which neglecteth his seruant that is sicke in his house, doth very ill.

1. Quest. What if he be not a couenanted seruant for a set time, but a Iourney-man at will, or one that worketh by the day or weeke?

Answ. Though a master be not so much bound to such an one, yet if he fall sicke in his house, he may not in that case thrust him out of doores, vnlesse he know where he may be wel prouided for.

2. Quest. What if a master be poore, and not able to pro∣uide that which is requisite for a sicke person?

Answ. If the sicke person haue friends and kindred that are better able, they must prouide for him: if not, the Church must helpe: but it is the masters duty, to make the sicke mans case knowne to his friends, or to the Church.

If, after all good meanes are vsed for recouery, the seruant * die, his master must see the last duty in some seemely manner, performed for him, which is Christian buriall. Herein lieth a maine difference betwixt the vsage of mens bodies which af∣ter death shall be raised againe, and beasts that vtterly perish. Page  677Iaakobs care of burying his mothers nurse is expresly mentio∣ned, * in way of commendation.

§. 33. Of neglect of seruants in sicknesse: and when they are dead.

Many masters much offend in the contrary to the forena∣med duties. For

1. Some, when they obserue their seruants begin to be sicke, will put them out of their houses, and leaue them to shift for themselues, as that cruell Amalekite who left his sicke ser∣uant * abroad in the fields. But note the vengeance of God which followed thereupon: The leauing of that sicke seruant in that case was the occasion of the destruction of that master and all his company. By that meanes they were discouered to their enemies.

2. Others, when they cannot remoue their sicke seruants out of their house, will suffer them there to lie succourlesse, and to perish for want of things needfull. Many rich men that are able to prouide well enough for them, will send them to some out, backe roome, and take no more care for them. In this kinde many of them shew more kindnesse to a dogge, or other beast that is not well, then to a seruant. An inhumane part.

3. Others, that seeme not so inhumane, deale too hardly with their seruants in such a case: they will afford them things needfull, but all at the poore seruants cost: and if those seruants haue not present money, they will cut it off their wages if they recouer health to doe them seruice. Is this to vndoe the heauy burdens? Or is it not to lay burden vpon * burden?

4. Others, that are at some charges for their seruants sick∣nesse, doe so mutter at their seruants, and fling out such dis∣contented speeches (namely, that they tooke them for their worke, and not to keepe them in their bed: to get some thing by them, not to be at such cost with them: or that they make themselues more sicke then needs: they may rise, if they will, (with many other like discontented speeches) that the poore sicke seruants are more grieued and troubled with their ma∣sters discontent, then with their sicknesse: and oft moued to Page  678 striue aboue their strength to rise, euen when death is seasing vpon them, and so hasten the approach of death.

5. Many that may be carefull enough of the bodily estate of their seruants in sicknesse, * haue no respect at all to the spi∣rituall comfort of their soules, they neither giue them a word of comfort themselues, nor send for minister or any other to doe it: but let them in this respect lie, and die as beasts. Of all points of vnmercifulnesse this is the greatest: and most vnbeseeming Christians.

6. Others, if their seruants die, will scarce afford them a winding sheet, but say, let any one that will, burie them for their clothes.

Notice is to be taken of these in humane cariages, that the detestation of them may make other masters more tender hearted towards their seruants.

§. 34. Of masters prouiding for the future estate of seruants.

Next to the Soule, and Body of seruants, masters must haue some care of their estate: and that not only to keepe them while they are in their seruice, but also to endeuour and pro∣uide that they may liue of themselues, and doe good to others. When shall I prouide for mine owne house? saith Iaakob to his * master. Which expostulation sheweth that this is a masters dutie.

Contrary is the mind of most masters: for in entertaining seruants they thinke of nothing but seruing their owne turne. Whence it commeth to passe that when masters die many ser∣uants are put to very hard shifts. Some forced to beg, others moued to filch and steale. Thus caterpillars are nourished to annoy the common-wealth.

That I may not be thought to lay the care of parents on masters, and to equall seruants with children, I will note out foure particulars which will shew what manner of care and prouidence it is that is here required of masters in regard of their seruants estate.

One is, that masters accustome their seruants to paines.

Another is, that they exercise them in some vsefull calling.

A third is, that they giue them sufficient wages.

Page  679 A fouth is, that after sufficient seruice they suffer them to prouide for themselues.

§. 35. Of well imploying seruants.

That charge which the master gaue to his seruants when he was going abroad (occupie till I come) sheweth that masters * must keepe their seruants exercised and imployed about some businesse or other: which is also implied vnder this part of a good mistresses commendation, she giueth a portion to her mai∣dens,* meaning a portion of worke. As there is neuer an idle member in a naturall body, but euery one is imploied, so should it be in a family.

1. Thus seruants being, while they are in subiection, inu∣red to paines, they will be more industrious when they are of themselues: yea they will both more willingly vndergoe, and more easily goe thorow matters which require paines and di∣ligence. Use maketh perfect.

2. Thus will masters themselues, and others afterward re∣ceiue the more profit, and greater benefit by them.

3. Thus will many temptations be auoided, and euils pre∣uented: continuall imployment to the corrupt nature of man is as a running streame which carrieth away all the mud and filth in a brooke, so as none setleth there.

It is contrary hereunto to harbour idle-packes in a mans * house: to giue meat, and drinke, and lodging to such as doe no worke at all. The Apostle expresly commanded, That if*any man would not worke, neither should he eat.

These are not only a prey to the deuill, but also instruments of the deuill, by which he worketh much mischiefe: for these are they that are most ready to discouer the secrets of an house, to be tatling of euery thing that is done, to sort them∣selues with all companies, and not content to doe no good themselues, disturbe, interrupt, and draw away such as are bu∣sie at their worke.

§. 36. Of exercising seruants to a calling.

Though it be a good thing to keepe a seruant alwaies oc∣cupied and imploied, yet for the benefit of the seruant it is fur∣ther requisite, that his imployment be about some setled mat∣ter, whereabout he may also exercise himselfe when he is out Page  680 of seruice. This especially concerneth such as haue taken * prentises. They must teach them their trade.

  • 1. For that end are prentises bound to masters.
  • 2. The couenants on the masters part require as much.
  • 3. The good which thence is like to come to the master himselfe, his prentise, and others, will recompence the paines.

Other seruants also must be tied to a worke which may be a meanes of maintenance: as in a great house, to offices about that house: in the country, to husbandry: in offices about the law, to some imployment therein; and so in other callings.

It is contrary hereunto for masters to enuy their prentises the mysterie of their trade: to imploy them from time to time about messages, and errands, and such things as tend only to the masters present need, but cannot be profitable for the ser∣uants in time to come. These are like old, growne, broad trees, which keepe all the sunshine from the shrubs that grow vnder them, and so keepe them downe from growing.

Obiect. Prentises will be as iuy to the trees about which they cling, soone ouer-topping them, and foking all the life out of them: they will hinder their masters trading, and get away all his custome, if they be too expert in his trade.

Answ. 1. This is but a meere surmise. It implieth that such masters as feare that which is pretended, deale not so cur∣rently, and faithfully with their customers as they should; or else how could they surmise that wise chapmen would leaue one of whom they haue had long and good experience, to goe to a new beginner?

2. Daily experience sheweth that God by his prouidence so ordereth mens affaires, that masters who from time to time traine vp and send forth many prentises well exercised and skilfull in their trade, doe hold on, yea and increase in their owne dealings and gaine which they get thereby; and yet withall their prentises also come well forward. Why should any masters so distrust Gods prouidence, as to be afraid to make their prentises skilfull in their trade?

3. When masters by death or otherwise giue ouer trading, how shall trades be continued, if masters be so enuious, and distrustfull? What if their masters had so dealt with them? Page  681 And what if all masters should so deale? For what one doth in such a case, he must presuppose that all may doe.

In this kinde also doe such mistresses offend as keepe their maids many yeares together to drudgery worke, and neuer teach them, nor afford them meanes or leisure to learne points of huswifery, things whereby they may get better maintenance for themselues.

Such masters and mistresses vse their seruants as beasts, only for their owne turne, without any respect to the seruants good: whereby they peruert the maine end of that relation betwixt ma∣ster and seruant, which is a mutuall and reciprocall good to passe from the one to the other.

§. 37. Of appointing to euery seruant his particular function.

For the better exercising of seruants vnto some calling, let these * directions be noted.

1. That masters appoint to their seruants their proper and pe∣culiar worke, that they may know what to doe, and wherein to exercise themselues. And if there be many seruants in one house, to set vnto euery one their distinct function. The phrase before noted of the good mistresse (she giueth a portion to her maidens)* proueth thus much. This was one thing which the Queene of Sheba obserued and admired in Solomons house, the standing of*his seruants, namely, euery one in his owne place, at his owne taske. To this purpose it is noted, that the great master gaue to * each of his seruants their distinct talents. It is thus in the bodie naturall: euery member is not only imployed, but also imployed * in his owne function: the eye in seeing, the eare in hearing, the foot in standing or going, and so the rest. It is thus also in Christs mysticall bodie: one hath the spirit of wisdome, another of know∣ledge, another of faith, and so in other gifts. Thus also ought it to be in a familie where are many seruants.

This is an especiall meanes to make euery one the more dili∣gent and faithfull. For when euery one hath his particular worke, they know, that they in particular are to giue an account thereof: so as if it be not done, or ill done, they shall beare all the blame: if done, and well done, they shall haue all the praise.

2. Thus shall euery one be made skilfull and expert in some Page  682 thing, by continuall attending vpon it, and exercising themselues therein.

§. 38. Of disorder in families through masters negligence.

The great disorder which is in many families is contrary here∣unto: for there are many masters that hauing sundry seruants doe looke that all things should be well done, and yet appoint no par∣ticular place or worke to any one; but thinke and say, that euery one should be forward to doe euery thing; and when they finde * not things done to their minde, they fret and fume, and com∣plaine that they keepe so many seruants, and yet nothing well done. Such seruants are not free from all blame: but surely the masters haue greatest cause to complaine of themselues, and of their owne disorder in gouerning. For their negligence in ap∣pointing no set worke to their seruants, is the cause that all is neg∣lected. For where many things to be done are left to many ser∣uants, one will put off this, and another that, and say it belongeth not to them. Thus is it verified, that what is spoken to all is spoken to none: and that generall charges, are no charges.

§. 39. Of masters ouerseeing the wayes of their seruants.

The second direction is, that masters vse inspection ouer their seruants, and haue an eye vpon their seruants, to see how they spend their time, and dispatch the businesse committed to them. The good mistresse looketh well to the wayes of her houshold. This * is noted of Booz, that he went to his field to see what his rea∣pers did.

The eye of a master is a great motiue to make a seruant diligent and faithfull: for thus he knoweth that both his diligence, and also his negligence shall be seene, and accordingly dealt withall. Hence arose that prouerbe, The eye of the master maketh the horse*fat. The conceit which the euill seruant had that his master de∣layed his comming, and so could not see what he did, made him so vnfaithfull as he was.

If a masters place will beare it, it is behouefull that he be pre∣sent with his seruants, and as a good president goe before them. It is recorded of the good mistresse, that shee riseth and giueth a*portion to her maids: shee is with them her selfe; shee worketh willingly with her hands. This note of difference is put betwixt a prouident thriuing master, and a dissolute carelesse master: ThisPage  683man saith to his seruants, goe yee: but that man saith, goe we; or thus, goe sirs, and ga'w sirs.

It is contrary hereunto to let all goe (as we speake) at six and*seuens; and neuer to see what seruants doe. How can such expect that their seruants should be diligent in doing that which tendeth to their masters good, when they themselues are negligent in ouerseeing that which tendeth to their owne good? Such masters as giue themselues to gaming, and following their pastimes all day long, doe much offend herein. So also such mistresses as spend all the morning in lying a bed and dressing themselues (a custome cleane contrary to that which is noted of the good mi∣stresse) * and at noone when they come out of their chamber, chide and brawle, because things are not more forward.

§. 40. Of prouoking seruants to their dutie both by faire and foule meanes.

The third direction is, that masters vse what meanes they can to prouoke and stirre vp their seruants to be diligent and faithfull: as in the first place, exhortation, admonition, perswasion, promi∣ses of reward, with other like faire meanes. Such were the meanes which Saul vsed to make his seruants faithfull vnto him, when he said, Will the sonne of Iesse giue euery one of you fields, and vine∣yards,* &c. had the thing which he expected from them beene good, this manner of dealing with them had beene commenda∣ble. But if faire meanes preuaile not, then they may and ought to * rebuke, threaten, and correct their seruants.

And if seruants be impudent in sinning, and neither faire nor foule meanes will reclaime them, they must then be thrust out of doores. Note what the master in the parable said to his seruant, Thou maist be no longer steward: to which purpose Dauid also * said, He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within mine house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.

When Ismael grew a scoffer at Gods word, Abraham thrust * him and his mother out of doores, and that by Gods appoint∣ment. The parable of cutting downe the fruitlesse figtree may fit∣ly be applied to this point: and the reason also there rendred (why combereth it the ground?) Why should incorrigible ser∣uants * take vp the roome of good seruants? yea why should they remaine to insect and peruert other seruants?

Page  684

Obiect.

This is so farre from helping seruants in their estate, as it may proue their vtter vndoing.

Answ. 1. They haue then none iustly to blame but them∣selues, Iustice (in case of necessitie) must haue her course, though through the iniquitie of man some mischiefe follow thereupon.

2. The execution of this on some, may make others better looke to themselues.

3. It may make them that are thrust out to be the more du∣tifull vnder another master, or more diligent in another course of life.

Contrary is their course who obserue no course, or order * in drawing on their seruants to doe their dutie, but begin with that which should be last: nay only vse that remedy which should not be vsed, vnlesse no remedy will serue the turne, which is to turne their seruants out of doores for euery small occasion. No instruction, perswasion, admonition, rebuke, threatning is vsed by many when their seruants haue offended, but this thunderbolt cast at them, be gone, get you out of doores. If this were taken notice of as a fault, longer might seruants tarry in an house then ordinarily they doe: and more good might master and seruant reape one from another: yea and the secrets of an house be better kept; for the oft chopping and changing of seruants is it that maketh all things done priuat∣ly in houses to be blazed vp and downe.

§. 41. Of paying seruants their wages.

A third thing required of masters in respect of the estate of their seruants, is to giue them their iust wages: euen this is in∣cluded vnder that generall precept, arender to all their dues: and more particularly expressed in the example of b that ma∣ster who hired labourers into his vineyard and at the end of their worke gaue them euery one their wages: yea there is an expresse c law to this purpose.

Obiect.

These places concerne labourers hired by the day.

Answ. Seruants are in the same ranke: and the ground for both is the same: for both worke for wages. Yea the argu∣ment will more strongly follow from the lesse to the greater thus, If a labourer and seruant for a day must haue his wages Page  685 iustly paid, much rather a seruant, and labourer for a yeere and yeeres.

1. A masters couenant requireth as much: if there were no other bond, yet that bond whereby he voluntarily bindeth himselfe, tyeth him in conscienc thereto. Among the fruits of the Spirit dS. Paul reckoneth Faith, meaning thereby fideli∣tie in keeping promise and couenant.

2. Common equitie and iustice requireth as much: for wa∣ges is as due for labour, as money for wares. Christ taketh it for an vndeniable principle, that ethe labourer is worthy of his hire: so also doth f the Apostle.

This dutie is to be performed to such as are hired for wages: of them that are found all things by their master, I spake * before.

In giuing seruants their wages these three things are to be * obserued.

1. That there be a sufficient competency of wages allowed: euen so much at least as may serue to prouide such necessaries as are fit for a seruant: for there is great reason, that he that worketh should liue of his worke.

2. That it be giuen in due season. g God would not haue the labourers hire be vnpaid one night after it was due. The time couenanted by a seruant for his wages, is the seasonable time: then he expecteth it: to that time he putteth his occasi∣ons of vsing it: at that time therefore it ought to be giuen him.

3. That it be paid to the full, according to the couenant: the masters promise, and the seruants need require as much.

§. 42. Of masters iniustice about their seruants wages.

Iniustice contrary to the forenamed dutie of due paying their seruants wages is many waies committed.

1. When masters doe altogether detaine their seruants wa∣ges: h this is a crying sinne, which entreth into the eares of God.

2. When they make their seruants aske for their wages a∣gaine and againe, euen till they be ashamed: yea to stay and wait for it till they be forced to sigh vnto God: or else to filch and steale to supply their necessities: though these masters Page  686 haue not a purpose vtterly to defraud their seruants of their due, yet the putting them off, and delaying to pay it, putteth seruants, that for the most part haue but from hand to mouth, vnto great straits: which the Lord well knew: and therefore i expresly forbad the detaining of a seruants hire one night. This therefore is a point not only of vnkindnesse, but also of iniustice.

3. When masters alter and change the couenanted wages, and seeke to diminish it, as k hard-hearted Laban did: they shew thereby that they repine at their seruants welfare, and seeke only themselues.

§. 43. Of suffering seruants to prouide for themselues.

A fourth thing required of masters in regard of their ser∣uants estate is, that after sufficient seruice done they suffer their seruants to prouide for themselues. This Iaakob required of Laban as a most equall and reasonable matter, saying, lwhen shall I prouide for mine owne house also? (as was * before noted in the generall.) This hath respect especially vnto such seruants as haue beene a long time with masters as apprentises, and spent their time, labour, and paines only and wholly for their masters good. m Gods law tooke expresse order for such, that after certaine yeeres seruice they should goe free. So doe also the lawes of our land, especially the orders of London.

Herein lyeth a maine difference betwixt seruants (who are vnder subiection, and held to worke for their owne good) and beasts (which are only for mans seruice, and good.)

They therefore who are of a contrary minde, keeping ser∣uants * as long as possibly they can, euen all their life long vnto hard labour, and vnder seruitude, deserue to be serued with beasts rather then men and women. This kinde of masters ri∣gour to their seruants is in particular noted to be n one of the causes of that great indignation of God against the Iewes, whereby he was prouoked to giue them ouer, as captiues to their enemies.

§. 44. Of kindnesse to be shewed to good seruants.

As masters must giue that which is iust to all seruants, so that which is *equall to them that deserue it: that is, they must be of an answerable minde and disposition to good, honest, Page  687 louing, kinde, faithfull seruants, who stand not so much vpon that which is exacted, as vpon that which they are able to doe for their masters, and in that respect, as they see occasion doe oft times much more then is exacted, or expected. Goodnesse requireth goodnesse; good will, good will; and this is to doe the same things. This kinde of Equitie consisteth in these and such like particulars.

1. Masters must well esteeme of such good seruants: and haue them in high account. bAbram accounted his old good faithfull seruant as his childe, and till he had a childe thought of making him his heire. Great was that esteeme which Poti∣phar* had of Ioseph, when of a bondslaue he made him ouerseer ouer his house, Gen. 39. 4. Why is the title Father giuen to ma∣sters, (2. King. 5. 13.) and the title Sonnes to seruants, (Ios. 7. 19. & 1 Sam. 24. 16.) but to shew that seruants should beare a child-like affection to their masters, and that masters should beare a fatherlike affection to such seruants?

2. Masters must take notice of the goodnesse, and kind∣nesse of such seruants: and manifest as much, both by giuing them due praise, and a good reward: both which are noted in the patterne of that great master who said, well done thou good*and faithfull seruant, thou hast beene faithfull ouer a few things, I will make thee ruler ouer many things. Thus will those good seruants be the more encouraged to hold on, and others will be moued to imitate them. This incouragement doth the Apostle giue to all vnder authoritie, doe that which is good, and*thou shalt haue praise of the same. Which phrase implieth that gouernours ought to praise those that doe well.

3. If such seruants be accused of any hainous crime, ma∣sters must not rashly giue credit thereto, but rather thorowly sift, and examine the matter. Herein Potiphar exceedingly * failed, and by that meanes lost such a seruant as he could neuer get againe. If a good seruant doe by occasion slip, and com∣mit a fault, his master ought in wisdome either to take no no∣tice of it: or with some milde admonition passe it ouer: and not deale with him as with a lewd, gracelesse seruant.

4. When such seruants (their couenanted time being ex∣pired) depart, their masters must not let them goe away empty:*Page  688 but helpe them in their mariage (as Moses his master did) or * in their setting vp, as the great master, who made his wise and faithfull seruant ruler ouer all his goods.*

§. 45. Of vnkinde dealing with good seruants.

Vnworthy they are of good and kinde seruants who are of a contrary minde: as many masters are For

1. Some make no difference betwixt seruants: but esteeme of bad and good all alike: they thinke that the best seruants doe but their duty, therefore no extraordinary respect is to be borne towards them. But it is a point of wisdome sometimes to account a duty as a kindnesse: especially when good will of heart is ioyned with outward performance of duty.

2. Others thinke it policy to take no notice of any seruants extraordinary faithfulnesse and diligence to praise and reward the same, lest it puffe them vp too much. But there is much more feare of seruants fainting, and waxing weary of doing good if they haue no incouragement, then of growing insolent by incouragement.

3. Others will be more ready to checke and rebuke such for euery slip, and for failing in any thing, then others: because others lesse regard their rebuke: whereby they shew want of wisdome in well managing their authority.

4. Others when their seruants are about to goe away, or to marry, or to set vp, will seeke some occasion or other to fall out with them, of purpose to send them away empty. Many will carry a faire face toward profitable seruants till the time of recompence commeth, and then beginne to frowne, as Laban* did. Yea so farre are some masters from seeking the prosperity of faithfull, wise, diligent, skilfull seruants, as they will hinder * them in what they can, and keepe them downe: fearing lest as their seruants rise, they themselues should decay and fall. These are both vnkinde, and vngratefull masters. Would masters be so dealt with by their superiours? Thou oughtest so to liue with thy inferiour, as thou wouldest haue thy superiour liue with thee.

Hitherto of masters duties. The reasons to moue them to per∣forme their duties follow.

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§. 46. Of the subiection vnder which masters are.


Ephes. 6. 9.

Knowing that your master also is in heauen: neither is there respect of persons with him.

There is in generall but one reason alledged by the Apostle, to prouoke masters to doe their duties, but it is so laid downe as it compriseth other forcible reasons vnder it.

The principall reason is taken from the subiection wherein masters are.

The other reasons are taken from the description of that authority vnder which masters are: for it is such an autho∣rity, as,

1. In relation to it there is no difference betwixt master and seruant.

2. It is farre surpassing all dignities on earth.

3. It is moued with no outward respect of any thing.

The first reason which declareth the subiection of masters, in that they haue a master ouer them, putteth them in minde of that account which they are to make, and reckoning which they are to giue of the well vsing of their authority, and of their cariage towards such as are vnder them. For they are but as stewards ouer fellow seruants: euery one of them therefore shall heare this charge, giue an account of thy stewardship.*

In this respect this reason is both as a spur, and as a curbe vn∣to masters.

As a spur, to pricke them on forward conscionably to per∣forme all those duties which are required of them: for they haue a master that will take notice thereof, and reward them for it. As they approue, and recompence the good seruice which their seruants doe: so much more will their master ap∣proue and recompence them if they doe well. Doe masters therefore looke that their seruants should performe their duty? let them then performe theirs: for there is the same reason of both. Let this be applied to all the particular duties before mentioned.

It is also as a curbe, to restraine masters from doing any thing Page  690 to their seruants but what they can be able to iustifie vnto their owne master. With this curbe did God hold in the Israelites, saying, bThou shalt not rule ouer thy seruant with rigor, but shalt feare thy God. Ioseph was held in with it, when he said, cThis doe and liue, for I feare God. And Nehemiah, when he said, dThe former Gouernours were chargeable to the people, but so did not I because of the feare of God. And Iob, when he said, eIf I did de∣spise the cause of my seruant, when God visiteth, what shall I an∣swer him? Thinke of this ô masters, when you are about to ex∣act any thing of your seruants that is not lawfull or meet, when you are incensed and in passion stirred vp to strike your ser∣uants vniustly or cruelly, when you detaine from them any thing that is their due, when you lay more on them then they are able to beare, when any way you wrong or oppresse them: thinke and say with your selues, can this be iustified? how shall we be able to hold vp our head to our master when he calleth vs to account? What stronger motiue to doe all dutie? what stronger restraint from all iniustice and rigour? The conceit which ma∣ny haue that they are free, vnder none, to giue no account, ma∣keth them both negligent of their owne dutie, and insolent ouer others; as Pharaoh, who said, gWho is the Lord that I should obey him? and Sennacherib, who said, hShall your God de∣liuer you out of mine hands? and Nebuchadnezzar, who said, iWho is that God that shall deliuer you out of mine hands? Note the issue of this insolency. Pharaoh after many extraordinarie plagues laid on him and his people, k was drowned in the red sea with all his host. lSennacherib after his host was destroied, was slaine by his owne sonnes. mNebuchadnezzar became a very bruit. But to let these abominable blasphemers passe, there be many masters who, though they vtter not with their mouthes such execrable blasphemies, yet by their carriage to∣wards their seruants shew themselues to be little better min∣ded, in that they make their owne will a rule to their seruants, and will haue them doe such things as are vnmeet and vnlaw∣full, vsing their seruants as slaues, or rather as beasts. Let all such masters know that they haue a master.

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§. 47. Of the equality betwixt masters and seruants in relation to God.

The second reason in this particle also (your master also) declareth an equality betwixt masters and seruants in relation to God. As God is the masters of seruants, so he is the master of masters also. As seruants are the Lords afreemen, so masters are the Lords seruants. In this respect they who are made ru∣lers, and they who are vnder them, are called bfellow seruants. For howsoeuer in outward dignity there is great difference betwixt master and seruant, yet as the seruants of God they are of a like condition, and in many things may be accounted equall: especially if both be of the same faith, and so brethren in Christ. This is another spur and curbe too.

A spur in that God will the more kindly accept that good∣nesse which masters doe to their seruants, because it is done to Gods seruants.

A curbe, in that seruants shall be heard before God as well as masters, for he is the master of both.

Many thinke that all the kindnesse which is shewed to ser∣uants is lost, because they are so meane as they are able to make no recompence. But their master is able.

Others thinke, their seruants can neuer take any reuenge of them, and thereupon vse them as they list. But the master of seruants, who is also the master of masters, can take vengeance, euen such as shall make masters sorely repent all the wrong they haue done.

If masters did duely weigh this point, that, howsoeuer in re∣gard of outward gouernment there be some difference betwixt them and their seruants, yet before God they are as fellow ser∣uants, would they be ouer-rigorous and cruell? would they not be kinde and gentle?

§. 48. Of Gods being in heauen, how it is a motiue to prouoke ma∣sters well to respect their seruants.

The third reason (taken from the place of God, in heauen) declareth the surpassing excellencie of that great master, who is the common master of masters and of seruants: and it addeth an edge to the former motiues.

Page  692 1. It sheweth that though the wrong which masters doe to their seruants be within the walls of their house, so as no mortall eye can see it, yet God who is in heauen seeth it: and though ser∣uants cannot be admitted into the courts of men to make their complaint, yet heauen is open to them; to that great master that is in heauen they may haue accesse when they will. That which made the euill steward deale hardly with his fellowes, was the con∣ceit * which he had of his masters absence. But no such conceit can they haue of this great master, who know that he is in heauen, and * that as heauen is ouer euery place, so the eyes of the Lord are in euery place, and behold the euill and good: he seeth all the good, and all the euill that masters doe to their seruants.

2. It sheweth that the kindnesse which the Lord will repay, and the vengeance which he will inflict, is infinitely greater then the good or euill that masters can doe to their seruants, euen as heauen i, higher then earth, and as he that is in heauen is greater then they that are on earth. Doest thou therefore, who art a master on earth, reioyce, or grieue the soule of thy seruant? God in heauen can much more make glad or sad thy soule. Doest thou therefore de∣sire the fauour, or feare the frownes of thy master in heauen? shew fauour to thy seruant on earth, and forbeare threatning. Remem∣ber the infinite disparitie betwixt thy mastership and Gods, and this will the more moue thee to deale with thy seruant, as thou wouldest haue God deale with thee.

3. It sheweth that there is much more reason we should take notice of our seruants, of their paines, of their diligence, and of their faithfulnesse, then that God should take notice of ours: and lesse reason that we should scorne, or neglect our seruants, then God scorne or neglect vs. For there is far greater difference be∣twixt God and vs, then betwixt vs and our seruants. We and our * seruants are all of the earth, of the same mould, nature, and dispo∣sition, subiect to the same passion, and to the same dissolution. (The heathen obserued as much.) But God is in heauen, eternall, vnchangeable, euery way surpassing glorious. How can we then looke to be respected of this master, if we respect not our ser∣uants? O masters, in all your dealings with your seruants, re∣member your master is in heauen.

Page  693

§. 49. Of Gods impartiall respect of all.

The fourth reason (in these words, neither is there respect of persons with him) declareth Gods iust and equall manner of proceeding with all men, of what ranke and degree soeuer. God will doe the same things to all sorts of masters that they doe to their seruants. To the consideration of this impartiall iustice of God doth the Apostle call masters, both because of that outward power which they haue ouer their seruants, and also because for the most part masters are backt with the power and authority of magistrates on earth, who in matters of dif∣ference betwixt master and seruant are ordinarily partiall, re∣specting masters more then seruants.

But let masters here learne to cast off all such fond conceits, and foolish hopes. Though they be higher in place, haue more wealth, and better friends then their seruants, and though men who haue carnall eies may thereby be much mo∣ued to respect them, yet will not God goe an haires bredth from iustice for the whole world. If the greatest man that euer was in the world should haue a seruant that were the meanest that euer was, and a case betwixt that master and that seruant should come before God, God would not any whit at all leane to that master more then to the seruant. If the grea∣test that be abuse the meanest, they shall not escape. Wherfore, O masters, giue no iust cause of complaint to any seruant.

The Apostles manner of setting downe these points, noted in this word (knowing) implieth that ignorance of God, of that authority which he hath ouer masters, of that equality which in relation to God is betwixt masters and seruants, and of Gods heauenly excellency, and impartiall respect towards all, maketh masters to abuse their power, by neglecting all dutie, and insulting & tyrannizing ouer their seruants: where∣fore you that haue heretofore beene ignorant of these points, now take knowledge of them; and you that know them, oft call them to minde: and doe that which becommeth good masters, Knowing that your master also is in hea∣uen, neither is there respect of per∣sons with him.

FINIS.