and helping one another, and making the work, which they have to do, easy, and the lives, which they are to lead together, comfortable. For it is very unfit that either their masters, or any other part of the family, should suffer through their ill-humour; and, indeed, they suffer enough by it themselves, to make restraining it well worth their while.

These are the duties of servants; and as the faithful performance of them is the surest way of serving themselves, and being happy in this world; so, if it proceed from a true principle of conscience, God will accept it, as a service done to himself, and make them eternally happy for it in the next ; whereas, wilfully transgressing, or negligently slighting, the things which they ought to do, whatever pleasure, or whatever advantage it may promise or produce to them for a while, will seldom fail of bringing them at last to shame and ruin even here, and will certainly bring them, unless they repent and amend, to misery hereafter.

But think not, I entreat you, that we will lay burdens on those below us, and take none upon ourselves. There are duties, also, and very necessary ones, which masters and mistresses owe to their servants.

To behave towards them with meekness and gentleness--not imperiously, and with contempt; and to restrain them, as far as may be, from giving bad usage one to another; never to accuse, threaten, or suspect them, without or beyond reason; to hear patiently their defences and complaints ; and bear, with due moderation, their mistakes and faults; neither to make them, when in health, work or fare harder than is fitting; nor suffer them, when in sickness, to want any thing requisite for their comfort and relief; if they be hired servants, to pay their wages fully and punctually at the time agreed; if they are put to learn


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any business or profession, to instruct them in it carefully and thoroughly; not only to give them time for the exercises of religion, but assistance to understand, and encouragement to practise, every part of their duty; to keep them, as much as possible, both from sin and temptation, and particularly from corrupting each other. To show displeasure, when they do amiss, as far as, and no farther than, the case requires ; and to countenance and reward them when they serve well, in proportion to the merit and length of such service. For all these things are natural dictates of reason and humanity; and clearly implied in that comprehensive rule of Scripture,

Masters, give unto your servants that which is “just and equal; knowing that ye also have a 66 master in heaven."

There are still two sorts more of inferiors and superiors, that may properly be mentioned under this Commandment; young persons, and elder ; those of low and high degree.

The duty of the younger is, to moderate their own rashness and love of pleasure; to reverence the persons and advice of the aged; and neither use them ill, nor despise them, on account of the infirmities that may accompany advanced years ; considering in what manner they will expect hereafter that others should treat them. And the duty of elder persons is, to make all fit allowances, but no hurtful ones, to the natural dispositions of young people; to instruct them with patience, and reprove them with mildness; not to require either too much, or too long submission from them; but be willing that they, in their turn, should come forward into the world ; gradually withdrawing themselves from the heavier cares, and the lighter pleasures of this life; and waiting with pious resignation to be called into another.

(2) Col. iv. 1.

The duty of the lower part of the world to those above them in rank, fortune, or office, is, not to envy them; or murmur at the superiority, which a wise, though a mysterious Providence hath given them; but, “in whatever state they are,

therewith 'to be content ;"3 and pay willingly to others all the respect, which decency or custom have made their due. At the same time, the duty of those in higher life is, to relieve the poor, protect the injured, countenance the good, discourage the bad, as they have opportunity ; not to scorn, much less to oppress, the meanest of their brethren; but to remember, “ that “ we shall all stand “ before the judgment seat of Christ ;"4 where “ he that doth wrong, shall receive for the wrong or which he hath done; and there is no respect of



And now, were but all these duties conscientiously observed by all the world, how happy a place would it be! And whoever will faithfully do their own part of them, they shall be happy, whether others will do theirs or not; and this Commandment assures them of it;

66 that thy “ days may be long in the land which the Lord “thy God giveth thee.” In all probability, if we obey his laws, and that now before us in particu. lar, both longer, and more prosperous, will our days prove in this land of our pilgrimage, in which God hath placed us to sojourn ; but without all question, eternal and infinite shall our felicity be, in that land of promise—the heavenly Canaan, which he hath appointed for our inheritance; and which that we may all inherit accordingly, he of his mercy grant, &c.

(3) Phil. iv. 11.

(4) Rom. xiv. 10.

(5) Col. iii. 25.

L 2


Sixth Commandment.

HAVING set before you, under the Fifth Commandment, the particular duties, which inferiors and superiors owe each to the other; I proceed now to those remaining precepts, which express the general duties of all men to all men.

Amongst these, as life is the foundation of every thing valuable to us, the preservation of it is justly entitled to the first place. And accordingly the Sixth Commandment is, “Thou shalt do

no murder.” Murder is taking away a person's life, with design, and withont authority. Unless both concur, it doth not deserve that name.

1. It is not murder, unless it be with design. He who is duly careful to avoid doing harm, and unhappily, notwithstanding that, kills another, though he hath cause to be extremely sorry for it, yet is entirely void of guilt on account of it. For his will having no share in the action, it is not, in a moral sense, his. But if he doth the mis chief through heedlessness, or levity of mind, or inconsiderate vehemence, here is a fault. If the likelihood of mischief could be foreseen, the fault is greater; and the highest degree of such negligence, or impetuous rashness, comes near to bad intention.

2. It is not murder, unless it be without authority. Now, a person hath authority from the law both of God and man, to defend his own life, if he cannot do it otherwise, by the death of whoever attacks it unjustly; whose destruction in that case, is of his own seeking, and “his blood is on

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“ his own head.” 1 But nothing, short of the most imminent danger, ought ever to carry us to such an extremity; and a good person will spare ever so bad a one, as far as he can with any prospect of safety. Again, proper magistrates have authority to sentence offenders to death, on sufficient proof of such crimes as the welfare of the community requires to be thus punished; and to employ others in the execution of that senterice. And private persons have authority, and in proper circumstances are obliged, to seize and prosecute such offenders; for all this is only another sort of self-defence; defending the public from what else would be pernicious to it. And the Scripture hath said, that the sovereign power

beareth not the sword in vain." But in what. ever cases gentler punishments would sufficiently answer the ends of government, surely capital ones are forbidden by this Commandment. Selfdefence, in the last place, authorizes whole nations to make war upon other nations, when it is the only way to obtain redress of injuries, which cannot be supported; or security against impend

To determine, whether the state is indeed in these unhappy circumstances, belongs to the supreme jurisdiction ; and the question ought to be considered very conscientiously. For wars, begun cr continued without necessity, are unchristian and inhuman ; as many murders are committed, as lives are lost in theni; besides the innumerable sins and miseries of other sorts, with which they are always attended. But subjects, in their private capacity, are incompetent judges of what is requisite for the public weal; nor can the guardians of it permit them to act upon their judgment, were they to make one. Therefore

ing ruin.

(1) 2 Sam. i. 16. 1 Kings ii. 37. Ezek. xxxiii. 4.

(2) Rom. xiii. 4.

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