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1 am resolved, by the grace of God, to do my duty to my servants as well as expect they should do theirs to me.
IT was Joshua’s, and, by God’s grace, it shall be my resolution, that ‘I and my house fear the Lord.’ I, in the first place, and then my house; for if I myself do not, I cannot expect that they should. So that, for the ordering of my family in general, I must not only press their duty upon them, but likewise practise my own duty, in suppressing all vicious and lewd conversation, and composing all strife and contention amongst them; in praying every day, at least twice with them; in catechising and expounding the principles of religion to them, and in calling for an account of every sermon and godly 195discourse they hear, either in private or in public; in seeing that they constantly frequent the divine ordinances, and that they behave themselves so conscientiously therein, that they may be, some way or other, the better by them. And to these ends, I think it my duty to allow my servants some time, every day, wherein to serve God, as well as to see they spend their other hours in serving me; and to make them sensible that they do not serve me only for myself, but ultimately and principally in reference unto God; their serving me making way for my better serving God.
And, for this reason, I cannot believe, but it is as great a sin to cumber my servants, as myself with too much worldly business. For how can they spend any time in the service of God, when I require all their time in my own? And how justly should I be condemned, if by this means I should bring them into a sort of necessity of sinning, either in not obeying God or not obeying me; not that I think it is a servant’s duty to neglect his Creator to serve his master; on the contrary, he is obliged, in all cases, where their commands interfere, to ‘obey God, rather than man.’ But where they do not, there is a strict injunction upon all servants, that they should be ‘obedient to their masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ.’200200 Eph. vi. 5. But how with fear and trembling? why, fearing lest they should offend God, in offending them, and trembling at the thoughts of being disobedient to the divine command, which enjoins them to ‘be obedient to their masters in all things, not answering again;’201201 Tit. ii. 9.202202 Tit. ii. 9.196that is, not repining at their master’s lawful commands, not muttering and maundering against them, as some are apt to do: for it is as great a sin in servants to speak irreverently to their masters, as in masters to speak passionately to their servants.
But how are servants to give obedience to their masters, ‘with singleness of heart, as unto Christ?’ Why, by obeying them only in obedience unto Christ; that is, they are therefore to do their master’s will, because it is the Lord’s will they should do it; serving them, ‘not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good-will doing service as unto the Lord, and not to men.’203203 Eph. vi. 6, 7; Col. iii. 22. This is the duty, therefore, that I shall be oft inculcating upon my servants, and shall as oft be reflecting upon myself, that what I require for my own service may be always in subordination to God’s, who is our common Lord and master, whose laws are equally obliging on all ranks and conditions of men, and in whose sight ‘there is no respect of persons.’
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