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The Marrow of Modern Divinity - Part Second
Evan. By father and mother is meant, not only natural parents, but others also
Neo. And why did the Lord use the name of father and mother to signify and
comprehend all other superiors?
Evan. Because the government of fathers is the first and most ancient of all
others; and because the society of father and mother is that from whom all other
societies do come.
Neo. And are the duties of inferiors towards their superiors only here intended?
Evan. No, but also of superiors towards their inferiors, and of equals amongst
themselves; so that the general duty required in the affirmative part of this fifth
commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother," &c., is, that every man,
woman, and child, be careful to carry themselves as becomes them in regard to
that order God hath appointed amongst men, and that relation they have to
others, either as inferior, superior, or equal.
Neo. I pray you, sir, proceed to the particular handling of these things; and first
tell us what is the duty of children towards their parents.
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that children do
reverence their parents, by thinking and esteeming highly of them, (Gen 31:35);
and by loving them dearly, (Gen 46:29); and by fearing them in regard of their
authority over them, (Lev 19:3). And this inward reverent esteem of them is to be
expressed by their outward reverent behaviour towards them, (Gen 48:12). And
this outward reverent behaviour is to be expressed in giving them reverent titles,
embracing their instructions, (Prov 1:8), and by submitting patiently to their
corrections, (Heb 12:9), and by their succouring and relieving of them in case of
want and necessity, (Gen 47:12), and by making their prayers unto God for them,
(1 Tim 2:12).
Neo. And, sir, what be the duties of parents towards their children?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment does require, that parents be careful
to bring their children, with all convenient speed, in due order, to be admitted into
the visible church of God by baptism, (Luke 1:59); and that they, according to
their ability, do yield and give unto their children such competent food, clothing,
And that they train them up in learning, instruct them in religion, and endeavour
to sow the seeds of godliness in their hearts, so soon as they be able to speak, and
be careful to check and rebuke them when they do amiss, (Prov 31:2); and that
they be careful in time to train them in some honest calling, (Gen 4:2); and that
and that they be careful to lay up something for them, as their ability will suffer,
Neo. And what be the duties of servants towards their masters?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that servants have an
inward, high, and reverent esteem of their masters, (Eph 6:5- 7); yea, and that
they have in their hearts a reverent awe and fear of them, (1 Peter 2:18); and this
reverence and fear they are to express by their outward reverent behaviour
towards them, both in word and deed, as by giving them reverent titles, (2 Kings
5:23,25), and by an humble, submissive countenance and carriage, either when
their masters speak to them, or they speak to their masters, (Gen 24:9, Acts
10:7); and by yielding of sincere, faithful, willing, painful, and single- hearted
and patient bearing of those checks, rebukes, and corrections which are given to
them, or laid upon them by their masters, without grudging stomach, or sullen
countenance, though the master do it without just cause, or exceed in the
name, in keeping secret those honest intents which he would not have disclosed;
and, as much as may be, to hide and cover their master's wants and infirmities,
Neo. And what is the duty of masters towards their servants?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that masters be careful
to choose unto themselves religious servants, (Psa 101:6); and that they do
instruct them in religion and the ways of godliness, (Gen 18:19); and that they be
careful to bring them to the public exercises, (Josh 24:15); and that they do daily
pray with them and for them, (Jer 10:24); and that they do yield and give unto
to them that they follow the works of their callings with diligence, (Prov 31:27);
and that they be careful to instruct them, and give them direction therein, (Exo
35:34); and that they be careful to give them just reproof and correction for their
Neo. And what is the duty of wives towards their husbands?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that wives do carry in
their hearts an inward opinion and esteem for their husbands, (Eph 5:33); the
which they are to express in their speeches, by giving them reverent titles and
terms, (1 Peter 3:6); and in their countenance and behaviour, by their modesty,
shamefacedness, and sobriety, (1 Tim 2:9); and in being willing to yield
themselves to be commanded, governed and directed by their husbands in all
required to love their husbands, (Titus 2:4), and to express their love by their
Tim 3:11); and by their using the best means they can to keep their husbands'
bodies in health, (Gen 27:9). They are also required to be helpful to them in the
government of the family, and to be provident for their estate, by exercising
required to stir up their husbands to good duties, and join with them in the
Neo. And what is the duty of husbands towards their wives?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment requires that husbands be careful to
choose religious wives, (2 Cor 6:14); and that they dwell with them as men of
knowledge, (1 Peter 3:7); and that they cleave unto them with true love and
affection of heart, (Col 3:19); yea, and that they content themselves only with the
love of their own wives, and keep themselves only to them both in mind and
and to be careful to provide all things needful and fitting for their maintenance, (1
Tim 5:8); and to teach, instruct, and admonish them, as touching the best things,
to reform and amend what they see amiss in them, by seasonable and loving
admonition and reproof, (Gen 30:2); and wisely and patiently to bear with their
natural infirmities, (Gal 6:2).
Neo. And what is the duty of subjects towards their magistrates?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that subjects do think
in their hearts a reverent awe and fear of them, (Prov 24:21); the which they are
to express by their outward reverent behaviour towards them, both in word and
themselves to their commands, either to do, or to suffer, (1 Peter 2:13); and by
yielding a loyal and sound-hearted love to them, in not shrinking from them when
they have need, but defending them with their goods, bodies, and lives, if
prayers unto God for them, (1 Tim 2:12).
Neo. And what is the duty of magistrates towards their subjects?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that magistrates be
careful to establish good laws in their kingdoms, and good orders among their
provide for the peace, safety, quietness, and outward welfare of their subjects,
Neo. And what duties are people to perform towards their minister?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that the people have
their minister in reverent account and estimation, (1 Cor 4:1); and that they
humbly and willingly yield themselves to be taught and directed in their spiritual
affairs by him, (Heb 13:17); and that they pray for him, that the Lord would
him against the wrongs of wicked men, (Rom 16:4); and that they yield unto him
double honour, that is, both singular love for their work's sake, and sufficient
Neo. And what is the duty of a minister towards the people?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that ministers do
diligently and faithfully preach the pure word of God unto their people, both in
plainly expound the same, that the people may understand it, and that they pour
out their souls to God in prayer, for the spiritual good of the people, (1 Thess
1:2); and they go before the people, as a pattern of imitation to them, in all
holiness of conversation, (Phil 4:9).
Neo. And what is the duty of equals?
Evan. Why, the Lord in this commandment doth require, that equals regard the
dignity and worth of each other, and carry themselves modestly one towards
thus having showed you the duties required in this commandment, I pray you,
Nomologista, tell me whether you think you have kept it perfectly or no.
Nom. Sir, though I have not kept it perfectly, yet I am persuaded I have gone
very near it; for when I was a child, I loved and reverenced my parents, and was
obedient unto them; and when I was a servant, I reverenced and feared my
master, and did him faithful service; and since I became a man, I have, I hope,
carried myself well towards my wife, and towards my servants; yea, and done my
duty both to magistrates and ministers.
Evan. Aye, but I must tell you, the Lord doth not only require you to do them,
but also that you do them in obedience unto him; that is, in conscience to God's
commandment, or for his sake, even because he requires it. Therefore, although
you did your duty to your parents, when you were a child, and to your master
when you were a servant, yet if you did it either for the praise of men, or for fear
of their corrections, or to procure a greater portion, or greater wages, and not
because the Lord says, (Eph 6:4), "Children, obey your parents in the Lord"; and
because he says to servants, "Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men," you have not in so doing kept this commandment; and though
you have loved your wife, and every way carried yourself well towards her, yet if
it have been either because she is come of rich parents, or because she is
beautiful, or because she brought you a good portion, or because she some way
serves and pleases you after the flesh, and not because the Lord says, (Eph 5:25),
"Husbands, love your wives"; you have not therein kept this commandment: and
though you have carried yourself ever so well towards your servants, yet if it
have been that they might praise you, or to make them follow your business more
diligently and faithfully, and not because the Lord says, "Masters, give unto your
servants that which is just and equal," you have not therein kept this
commandment: and though you have done your duty ever so well towards your
magistrate, yet if it has been for fear of his wrath, and not for conscience sake,
viz: because the Lord says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,"
you have not therein kept this commandment: and though you have given your
minister his due maintenance, and invited him often to your table, and carried
yourself ever so well towards him, yet if it have been that he or others might think
you a good Christian, and a kind man, and not because the Lord says, (Gal 6:6),
"Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth, in all
good things," you have not therein kept this commandment.
Neo. Well, sir, I cannot tell what my neighbour Nomologista hath done, but for
mine own part, I am sure, I have come far short of doing my duty in any relation
I have had to others; for when I was a child, I remember that I was many times
stubborn and disobedient to my parents, and vexed if I might not have my will,
and slighted their admonitions, and was impatient at their corrections, and
sometimes despised and contemned them in my heart, because of some infirmity,
especially when they grew old; neither did I pray for them, as it seems I ought to
have done; and the truth is, if I did yield any obedience to them at all, it was for
fear of their corrections, or some such by-respects, and not for conscience
towards God. And when I was a servant, I did not think so reverently, nor esteem
so highly of my master and mistress as I should have done, but was apt to slight
and despise them, and did not yield such humble, reverent, and cheerful
obedience as I should have done; neither did I patiently and contentedly bear their
checks and rebukes, but had divers times risings and swellings in my heart against
them; neither was I so careful to maintain their good name and credit as I ought to
have been; neither did I pray unto the Lord for them as I ought to have done; and
the very truth is, all the obedience and subjection which I yielded unto them, was
for fear of their reproofs and corrections, or for the praise of men, rather than in
conscience to the Lord's commandment.
And when I entered into the married estate, I was not careful to choose a religious
wife; no, I aimed at beauty more than piety; and I have not dwelt with my wife as
a man of knowledge; no, I have expressed much ignorance and folly in my
carriage towards her; neither have I loved her so as a husband ought to love his
wife, for though it be true I have had much fond affection towards her, yet I have
had but little true affection, as it hath been evident in that I have been easily
provoked to anger and wrath against her, and have not carried myself patiently
towards her; neither have I been careful to maintain mine authority over her, but
have lost it by my childish and indiscreet carriage towards her; neither have I lived
so cheerfully and delightfully with her as I ought to have done, but very heavily,
discontentedly, and uncomfortably have I carried myself towards her; neither
have I been careful to instruct and admonish her as I ought; and though I have
now and then reproved her, yet for the most part it has been in a passion, and not
with the spirit of meekness, pity, and compassion; neither have I prayed for her
either so often or so fervently as I ought; and whatsoever I have done, that has
been well done, I have been moved thereunto, in former times especially, rather
by something in her, or done by her, than by the commandment of God. And
since I became a father and a master, I have neither done my duty to my children
nor servants as I ought, for I have not had such care, nor taken such pains for
their eternal good, as I have done for their temporal. I have had more care, and
taken more pains to provide food and raiment for them, than I have to admonish,
instruct, teach, and catechize them; and if I have reproved or corrected them, it
has been rather because they have some way offended me, than because they
have offended God; and truly, I have neither prayed for them so often, nor so
fervently as I ought. In a word, whatsoever I have done by way of discharging
my duty to them, I fear me, it has been rather out of natural affection, or to avoid
the blame, and gain the good opinion of men, than out of conscience to the Lord's
will and commandment.
And if I have at any time carried myself well, or done my duty either to
magistrate or minister, it has rather been for fear or praise of men, than for
conscience sake towards God; so far have I been from keeping this
commandment perfectly: the Lord be merciful unto me!
Evan. Assure yourself, neighbour Neophytus, this is not your case alone, but the
case of every man that has stood in all these relations to others, as it seems you
have done, as I am confident any man that truly knows his heart will confess,
yea, and any woman that is well acquainted with her own heart, I am persuaded,
will confess, that she has not had such a reverent esteem and opinion of her
husband as she ought, nor so willingly yielded herself to be commanded,
governed, and directed by him as she ought, nor loved him so truly as she ought;
nor been so helpful to him any way as she ought, nor prayed either so oft or so
fervently for him as she ought; and I fear me, most women do all that they do
rather for fear of their husband's frowns, or to gain his favour, than for
conscience to the Lord's will and command.
And where is the magistrate that is so careful to establish in his dominions such
good and wholesome laws as he ought, or to see them executed or put in practice
as he ought, or that is so careful to uphold and maintain the truth of religion as he
ought, or that is so careful to provide for the peace, safety, and welfare of his
people as he ought? Or where is the magistrate that does not do what he does for
some other cause, or some other end, rather than because God commands them,
or to the end he may please him?
And where is the minister that does his duty so in his place as he ought? I am
sure, for mine own part, I have neither so diligently nor faithfully preached the
pure word of God as I ought; nor so fully nor truly expounded it and applied it to
my hearers as I ought; nor so poured out my soul to God for them in prayer as I
ought; neither have I gone before them as a pattern of imitation in holiness of life
and conversation, as I ought: the Lord be merciful to me!
Neo. Well, sir, now I entreat you to proceed to speak of the sixth commandment
as you have done of the rest.
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