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.

§. 127. Of the meaning of the eight verse.


EPHES. 6. 8.
Knowing that whatsoeuer good thing any man doth, the same shall he receiue of the Lord whether he be bond or free.

GReat is the ingratitude of many masters: they will exact * all the seruice that a poore seruant possibly can doe, but slenderly recompence his paines: yea, it may be, very euilly re∣ward Page  170 the same, not affording competent food, clothing, lodging, but frownes, checkes, and blowes. Now to vphold seruants in such straits, and to incourage them to doe their du∣tie whether their masters regard it or no, the Apostle in this verse laboureth to raise vp their mindes to God: and to shew vnto them that he regardeth them, and will sufficiently reward them, so as

Seruants labour shall not be in vaine in the Lord. To presse * this incouragement the more vpon them, he setteth it downe as a thing granted by all, so cleere as none of them can be ig∣norant thereof (Knowing) as if he had said, ye all well enough * know that what I now say is most true: hence note that

Gods respect of faithfull seruants is so well knowne, as none that*haue any vnderstanding can be ignorant thereof.

The Apostles argument is drawne from the generall to a par∣ticular,* and the generality is noted in the thing done (whatso∣euer) and in the person that doth it (any man.) But because the generalitie of the thing might be too farre stretched, he addeth this limitation (good) and because the generalitie of the person might be too much restrained, he addeth this ex∣plication (whether bond or free.) This distinction is vsed be∣cause in those daies many seruants were bond-men and bond∣women. Now the Apostles argument may thus be framed: Euery one of what estate and degree soeuer he be, shall be rewarded of God for euery good thing he doth, be it great or small. There∣fore euery seruant shall be rewarded of God for euery good seruice.

The recompence promised is set forth vnder a concise speech (the same shall he receiue) meaning that he shall receiue * a reward for the same: that phrase hath relation to the crop which an husbandman receiueth of the corne he sowed, which is of the same kinde he sowed: m the seed being wheat, the crop is of wheat: the n seed being plentifully sowed, the crop will be plentifull: to the same purpose saith this Apostle in another place, whatsoeuer a man sowethothat shall he also*reape. Now to applie this, seruants that by their faithfull ser∣uice bring honour and glory to God, shall againe receiue ho∣nour and glorie. If they aske of whom they shall receiue it, the Page  171 Apostle expresly answereth, Of the Lord: for it is the Lord that * said, pThem that honour me will I honour. God will not forget them, though their masters may.

From this verse thus opened, I gather these particular obser∣uations, concerning seruants.

1. Seruants may and ought to applie vnto themselues generall*promises made to Christians. Otherwise this generall argument of the Apostle is to little purpose in this place.

2. A Christian may be a bond-slaue: for the Apostle directeth this incouragement to Christians, among whom he presuppo∣seth * some to be slaues, opposing them to free-men, who also were seruants.

3. Faithfull seruice performed to men is a good thing: for the * good things which seruants especially doe is in their seruice.

4. As God accepteth not men because they are free, so neither*reiecteth he them because they are bond. It is not the person, but the worke that he regardeth.

5. The faithfull seruice of seruants is as good seed sowen: it * will bring forth a good crop. The metaphor here intimated implieth as much.

6. God is honoured by the faithfull seruice of seruants: this is * intimated by the application of Gods reward to them, for God honoureth none but them which honour him.