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be clearer than that it every where recommends decency, regularity and fubordination among mankind. This is the plain language of the text and the verse following it, in regard of domestic arrangemeuts. The distinction of mallers and servants is not confounded, but on the contrary marked with the greatest precision. The latter, whatever real dignity their Chriltian character may confer on them, are'i equired to behave towards the former, though infidels, in the most respectful manner, remembering the different rauks they hold in the community. “Let as many " servants as are under the yoke, count their own " masters (that is, masters who are unbelievers, as " the context plainly shews) worthy of all honour; " that the name of God, and his doctrine, be not blas“phemed *.” And again, “ Servants be fubject to “ your masters with all fear, nat only to the good and ** gentle, but also to the froward t." They are also cautioned againit treating their masters, because fel. dow Christians, with indecent freedom. “ They that
6 have believing masters, let them not despise them, be- 6 cause they are brethren; but rather do them service
“ because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of $ the benefit [.” This levelling principle then, which some have palmed upon the Christian institution, is totally without foundation. It is a fact, that men hoid different ranks and stations in life : it is the will of Providence that it should be fo, in order to answer purposes of utility and importance to themselves and society: and agreeably to this wife arrangement of things, and without any cenfure thereon, they are addressed in the Libie.
It * * I Tim. vi. I. fi Pet. ii. 1S. 1 Tim. vi. 2,
It is further to be remarked, that as the New Teftament asserts the rights of superiors, so it is alike attentive to the claims of inferiors. It does not court the regards of the rich and mighty, to the injury or neglect of the poor and helpless. It teaches that men, as men, are equal ; that they are all subject to the same laws, and are all alike amenable at the tribunal of the great. God, who is no respecter of perfons. And it not only warns those in exalted stations against acts of injustice and oppresfion, but earnestly persuades them to those of condescension, humanity, and benevolence. This is the general tenor of the Bible: and it is enough to refer you to the text, wherein we have the cause of the servant pleaded with the same impartial regards as that of the master,
From this view, then, of the morality of the scriptures we derive a presumptive proof of their truth. And that proof is considerably augmented, when we reflect that the duties of morality are not only here happily explained and frictly enjoined, but that they have here a further and nobler support than the law of nature can afford them. What I mean is, that the gospel is so constructed as at once to throw light upon our duty, and to pofless us of new and extraor. dinary motives to persuade us to a compliance with it. To apply this idea to the matter before us. The reciprocal duties of masters and servants must be acknowledged, when examined only by the light of na-, ture, to be right, fit, and mutually beneficial. But the Christian fcheme, when properly understood, enables us more clearly to apprehend than we otherwise could the substantial difference between right and wrong; and by the noble temper it inspires power
fully animates us to the duties of fidelity, fubmiffior, and obedience, on the one hand, and of condescension, gentleness, and love on the other. And so it is of infinite use in explaining and enforcing the mutual obligations of masters and servants. This is an observation we may have an opportunity more fully to consider and illustrate hereafter. And, if it be found to be true, it will have not fmall weight, in concurrence with the external evidence of the gospel, to prove the Christian institution divine. .
We have considered the true grounds of tbis important relation between masters and servants, and now go on to explain the admonition in our text, which is founded on the principles laid down in the last fermon. So we shall proceed more particulary to state the duties of servants, and to point out their obligations to them; and then, in the fucceeding discourse, to explain the duties of masters, and with proper arguments to enforce them.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in kingleness of your heart, as unto Christ : not with eyeservice, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men ; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doib, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
In order to the right understanding of the words, we will cast the several particulars contained in them under the three following general heads--First, the persons addrefied :-Secondly, the duties enjoined, and the qualifications of them :-And thirdly, the motives to enforce them.
First, the persons addrefied are servants.
These are described as bond or free. By bonda servants are meant flaves, who became such by being taken in war, or by being born in captivity, or by having for certain considerations sold their freedom. And by free are meant hired servants, who were of much the same description with servants in this and other free countries. Of the former there were many among the Romans, and their state was considered as very abject and wretched, though they sometimes met with masters who treated them with great humanity.
But it should here be observed, that it does not follow from the apostle's admonishing bond-servants or llaves how to behave themselves in this humiliating situation, that he meant to countenance the tyranny commonly exercised over them. The truth is, the golpel where it came did not interfere with the civil government, or by any forcible exertions make a change in mens external condition. Yet it by no means authorizes the unjust invasion of mens natural rights, The apostle, who thus indiscriminately addrefies all servants, himself knew the value of freedom, and with no small spirit on more occasions than one asserted it *. And in his epiitle to the Corinthians he exhorts those servants " who may be made free,” to take the proper measures to that end 7.--The admonition then
ina * Acts xvi. 37. Chap. xxii. 25. 25. Cor. vii, 21.
in our text is addressed to all servants, whether bond or free. S iv JR.' in London : Secondly, We are next to consider the duties enjoined, and the qualifications of themví 1997: vt
1. The duties' enjoined are comprehended in the terms obedience--service-and doing good?"*" PP
" Servants, be obedient to your 'masters." "Or, as it is elsewhere expressed, * Obey them in all things*.» Comply with their will in all things that are within the compass of your ability, and do not affect your conscience towards God, especially in thole' matters thed belong toyour particular province, and which by your original contract you bound yourselves to attend: to.com Service is another term used to express what is required of them. They are "to do them fervice, " to wait on them, to minister to them, to aitist and defend them. There are offices peculiar to certain departments':. these should be more especially regarded : and not only these but every other office that occafion may require, and that is within their power.--Again, they are:" to do them good.” Acomprehensive term this!. Servants are to be the benefa&ors to their masters, to make their welfare their object, and to contrive every'poible way to promote their intereit. dui.
2. The qualifications of these duties, or the tem. per in which they are to be discharged, are particularly defcribed.
Masters are to be obeyed with fear and trembling. This may intend the caution that should be on the minds of servants, leít they fail in the obedience they owe their masters; and the reverence in which they ihould hold their persons and commands, and which is to
resemble *Col. iii. 22.