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Your good precept will not stick, if it be not fastened with a good example.
6. Encouraging of them to do well; and when they do well, with kind looks, speeches, and actions, i Chron. xxviii. 20. Ingenuous spirits are but abused, when they are always driven by way of authority, and not drawn in the way of kindness. The name of a father and mother sounds of bowels of kindness; it is a pity it should ever degenerate into the nature of mere masterly aụthority.
7. Lastly, Seasonable disposing of them in marriage, if need be, Ruth iii, 1. 1 Cor. vii. 36. So did Abraham with his son isaac, Gen. xxiv; and Isaac with his son Jacob, Gen. xxviii ; always consulting their own inclinations, not forcing them to this or that marriage against their will, which is but either to oblige them to disobey their parents, or to make themselves miserable to please them. The neglect of this duty may prove a snare to the child, and bring grief and sorrow to both.
4. There is a duty they owe to them at all times; and that is praying for them. Sometimes this is all they have access to do for them. But be they never so far away, they should not be forgotten. Though they be out of your family, they should not be out of your prayers, as Job's children were not, Job i. 5. And parents should consider the several cases of their children, and be very particular before the Lord for them. It is marked of Job, that he offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all,' ib. And though in some cases this may not be convenient in family-prayers, yet, in secret, parents should have their particular petitions for their particular children, according to their particular cases.
5. Lastly, The duty that parents when a-dying owe to their children. We must all die, and leave our children, else they will leave us before. Lay up these few advices, then, for that time.
(1.) If providence surprise you not, call together your children, that you may do them good by your advice at your latter end, as Jacob did, Gen. xlix. 1. And do it timeously, lest, if you delay, you be not able to speak to them when you would. A word from a death-bed has usually more in. Auence than ten words in a time of health; and words spoken with the dying breath of a parent are fair to stick:
(2.) Lay over your children whom ye are to leave, on the Lord himself; and whether ye have any thing to leave them or not, leave them on your covenanted God by faith, Jer. xlix. 11. Accept of the covenant now, renew it then, and lay the stress of their through-bearing on that God on whom ye have laid the stress of your own souls.
(3.) Give them your testimony for God, against sin, and concerning the vanity of the world. If ye have had any experience of religion, commend Christ and the way of the Lord, to them from your own experience, Gen. xlviii. 15, 16. If ye have had experience of the evil and bitterness of sin, shew them the ill of it. What courses ye have found profitable for your soul, and what hurtful; mark these to them particularly. If experience fail, yet conscience may help you out, if awakened, to this testimony.
(4.) Give them your dying advice to make choice of Christ as their portion, and holiness as their way, to cleave to it, living and dying in it. And what faults ye know are in any of them, which ye could not before get reformed, let your dying lips again reprove, exhort, obtest, and testify against, if so be they may be persuaded to hearken at last.
(5.) Bless them, in praying for them to God, the fountain of blessing; declaring withal, that they shall be blessed, if they keep the way of the Lord.
(6.) Let your temporal affairs be so ordered, as that after your decease they may not be a snare to your children, a bone of contention, or an occasion of grudge, one of them against another, Isa. xxxviii. 1.
Use 1. This serves for conviction and humiliation to those that are in that relation. In these things we offend all, both in the matter and manner of duty; which may send us to the Father of mercies, through Christ, for grace to remove our guilt, and to fit us to reform.
2. I exhort parents to be dutiful to their children, accord. ing to the will of God laid before you in his word. For motives, consider,
(1.) The strong tie of natural affection laid upon you, Our children are parts of ourselves, and therefore our bowels should yearn towards them, moving us to do them all the good we can. There are three things that may make our affection work towards dutifulness to them.
[1.] They have sia conveyed to them by natural genera.
tion, Psal. li. 5. We may rejoice in them, indeed, as God's gifts ; but, alas ! we may mourn over them as bearing naturally our own sinful image. As they are our children, they are children of wrath; they have a corrupt sinful nature conveyed unto thein. Did they derive some hereditary bodily disease from us, how would we pity them, and do what in us lies to help them? but they derive a hereditary soul disease from Adam by us, and should we not pity and pray for them!
[2.] Great is the danger they are in, if we do not our duty to them. They are in a world of snares; if we be not eyes to them, they may fall to their ruin. If the wild ass's colt be not tamed by education, they are in a fair way to be ruined in time by a sinful life, Prov. xxix. 15; and if mercy prevent it not, they are in a fair way to be ruined to eternity.
[3.] Education is a blessed mean of grace. So was it to good Obadiah, 1 Kings xviii. 12; and so it was to Timothy, 2 Tim. iii. 15; compare chap. i. 5; Why, because it is a mean appointed of God for that end, and therefore may be followed in faith of the promise, Prov. xxii. 6; Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' Chap. xxiii. 14 ; Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.' Augustine's mother was a good woman; but such was his life, that it cost her many prayers and tears; and weeping to one about his case, “Go thy way (said he to her), for it cannot be that a son of these tears can perish ;' and so it was. : :.(2.) This is a great part of our generation-work, the work that we have to do for the honour of God in the world, Psal. Ixxviii. 3, 4. to do our endeavour to hand down religion and honesty to the succeeding generation. And we must give an account to God of it. And as kings must account to God for what they have done for him in their kingdoms, and ministers in their congregations, so must parents account to him for what they have done in their families.
(3.) The vows of God are upon us for that cause. These are little minded by many, but God does not forget them, As Sarah was under the bond of the covenant by her husband's circumcision; so mothers are under the bond of the covenant by the vows taken on by their husbands; and are therefore obliged to use their utmost endeavours to fulfil these vows in the education of their children.
And the due consideration of this might engage children to be obedient and pliable to the commands, instructions, and directions of their parents, for their good.
I come now to the relation betwixt masters and servants, for which you may read Col. iii. 22. and iv. 1.
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.'
The servants duty is laid down, ver. 22. Servants obey in all things your masters,' &c. Wherein consider, (1.) The duty enjoined them, obedience.' (2.) The extent of it, ' in all things,' in things religious and civil, in eager or harder pieces of service; nothing is excepted but what is şinful; and that is accepted in that clause, 'your masters according to the flesh; that is, the outward man to distin. guish them from the great Lord and master of the con. science; in which respect we are forbidden to be servants of men,' i Cor. vii. 23; and to call no man master, Matth. xxiii. 8. Therefore Joseph is commended for refusing the solicitations of his mistress to uncleanness, and Saul's servants that they would not slay the Lord's priests. (3.) The manner of it; negatively, not with eye-service;' that is, when the master's eye is the measure of their work, busy before him ; but if he turn his back, they slacken their hand ? positively, in singleness of heart;' that is, faithfully, as under the eye of God, to whom they must give account.
The master's duty is laid down, Chap. iv. 1. Wherein (1.) We have the duty they owe to their servants. It is taken
up in two general heads. [1.] They are to give them what is just ;' that is, what they are obliged to give them by strict law or condition; give them what they owe them by strict justice. [2.] . What is equal ;' that is, what they are tied to by the law of charity and Christian meekness though not of strict justice. (2.) The reason enforcing it is, because masters on earth have a Master in heaven,' to whom they must give an account, as of other things, so of how they do to their servants.
Before I come to the duties of servants and masters, two things are to be considered, viz. who are meant by servants, and who by masters.
1. Who are meant by servants. Not to speak of bond. servants or slaves, whose bodies are perpetually under the power of their masters, their being no such servitude among us; servants, who are mercenary, or hirelings, are of two sorts. (1.) Domestic servants, who live in their master's family. (2.) Extra-domestic servants, who, though they live not in their master's family, but by themselves, yet receive his wages, whether for a few days, as day-labourers, men or women; or for certain terms, as herds, hinds, &c. All these come under the name of servants, and owe a duty to their masters, according to the law of God.
2. Who are meant by masters. (1.) There is the principal master, the master of the family, who pays the wages. (2.) There are subordinate masters. Such are, [1.] The mistress of the family, Psal. cxxiii. 2. [2.] Fellow-servants, or others deputed by, and having power from the principle master to oversee others, Gen. xxiv. 2. These must be obeyed, as having the master's authority, unless it be known that they go cross to the will and interest of the principal master. And here I shall consider,
1. The duty servants owe to their masters. 2. The duty of masters with respect to their servants,
First, I am to shew the duty which servants owe to their masters. They owe,
1. Inward reverence towards them, and fear of them, 1 Pet. ii. 18. Mal. i. 6. They should have a hearty respect to the character of a master, with a.conscientious regard to the superiority that God has given them oyer them, wherein they are, so far, to them in the place of God, Eph. vi. 5. 'as unto Christ. They should fear to offend them, to displease them by doing or omitting any thing which they know will offend them, Eph. vi. 5.
2. Honour, Mal. i. 6. They ought outwardly to carry respectfully to them, whatever they be, if they be their masters, and that both in word and deed. An humbly submissive and respectful countenance and carriage towards a master, is an excellent ornament of a servant. Neither the badness of the master, nor his goodness and piety, leaves servants a latitude in this point. Though they be bad men, VOL. III.