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your children prosperous in the world, reputable in society and useful to mankind; if you wish to see them virtuous here, to experience their dutiful attention in your declining years, and to entertain the pleasing hope of their eternal felicity in the future world, then bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Abraham commanded his children-God promised that they should keep the way of the Lord, and that he would bring on him and them, the great and good things which he had spoken. Be persuaded then by the commands and promises of God-by your love to your children-by your concern for their earthly comfort and heavenly happiness-by your regard to your own peace, hope and joy-by your obligations to society-by your benevolence to mankind, and particularly to the rising race-by the duty which you owe to God and men-to the present and succeeding generations, that you present your children to God, train them up in his service, and teach them to keep his ways.
Duties of Masters and Servants.
EPHESIANS vi. 5- -9.
Servants, be obedient to them which are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness af your heart as unto Christ; 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 to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, knowing that your master also is in heaven, neither is there any respect of persons with him.
IN the preceding verses the Apostle explains the reciprocal duties of husbands and wives, and of parents and children. In the words now read, he states the mutual obligations of masters and servants. These three sets of duties comprehend all those which result from domestic relations.
Under the name of servants he doubtless means to include all those subordinate members of a family, who are not children, whether they be slaves, properly so called, or servants for a term of years.
His enjoining on servants obedience to their masters, implies a concession, that there might be, and
was then such a relation as master and servant, in Christian, as well as in Heathen and Jewish families.
The law of Moses provided, that a Jew might be sold for the payment of a debt, or for the compensation of an injury done to a neighbor, particularly by theft ; and that in case of extreme poverty, one might sell his own children. But, in these cases, the sale was to be made to one of his own nation, not to a stranger; and the servitude was to be only for a limited time, not for life. It was to expire in the next Jubilee; so that it could not continue longer than six years. And the person sold was to be treated with humanity, and kindness; not as a slave, but as a hired servant.
Of the neighboring nations the Jews might purchase slaves. These they might retain in bondage through life, and use as their property, by selling or exchanging them, or by disposing of them to their children.
The Supreme Lord of the Universe, for holy and wise reasons, was pleased to give the Jews a permission to extirpate the nations of Canaan; at least such of them as would not accept conditions of peace, and submit to become tributaries. And as it was a common usage among those nations to make slaves of captives taken in war, God allowed the Jews to purchase slaves of them. But the particular permission given to the Jews, is not a general warrant for us to do the same; any more than the leave granted them to dispossess the Canaanites, is a warrant for us to dispossess all Heathens, Infidels and Heretics, who are inferior to us in power. Men have their natural rights, independently of their religous character; and we may no more invade the rights of Heathens, than they may invade ours. Religion makes no alteration in men's civil or natural relations and obligations.
There are, however, certain cases, in which men may rightfully be deprived of their natural liberty for a time, or for life. The Apostle says, "Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called. Art thou
called, being a servant, care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather." He concedes, that liberty is desirable, and what every man ought to choose. But if he cannot innocently obtain it, he must patiently endure the want of it. When he gives instructions to masters how to treat their servants, he supposes, that it may, in some cases, be right for Christians to have servants, otherwise he would have ordered those who had servants immediately to dismiss them. When he explains the duties of servants, he signifies, that such as could not innocently obtain their freedom, should contentedly remain in servitude. When Onesimus deserted his master, and in his ab. sence became a Christian, Paul, far from justifying his desertion, sent him back to his master.
There is a natural subjection, which children owe to their parents, and though neither reason nor scripture fixes any certain period, when this subjection should terminate; yet, in general, it is plain, that the subjection ought to continue to that time of life, when children are usually capable of supporting and governing themselves. And because they are not competent judges for themselves in this matter, the civil authority, in most societies, fixes the age, at which they shall be at their own disposal.
As parents are to provide for their children, so they are to judge, by what ways and means they best can do it. And whenever they think proper, they have an undoubted right to put their children under the care of others. This is only to transfer their own authority for their children's benefits.
Excepting the case of parental authority, or guardianship which comes in its place, I do not conceive that any can rightfully be made servants, but either with their own consent, or for some criminal action by which they forfeited their liberty.
A man may, no doubt, alienate to another his natural liberty by contract for a limited time, when he appre
hends this will be for his own benefit and advantage. And such a contract he is bound to fulfil, as much as any other.
Societies have a right to make laws for the common safety; and to annex such sanctions, as are necessary to give efficacy to their laws. If certain crimes may be punished with death, as seems generally to be supposed; others may clearly be punished with the deprivation of liberty for a time, or for life. And if a man, by any crime, incurs the loss of liberty, he may rightfully be held in servitude. But to take away one's natural liberty by force, without a forfeiture on his part, is as unjustifiable, as to take away his property, or his life. By the divine law, the stealing of a man to sell him for a slave, was to be punished with death.
It being admitted that there may be in families such a relation as master and servant, let us attend to the du ties which belong to it,
We will, first, consider the duties of servants, with the encouragement subjoined.
1. They are to be obedient to their masters-to obey them in all things."
This must be understood with the same limitation, as all other commands enjoining relative duties. We are to "obey God rather than men." Our first obligations are to him; and only in those things which he allows can we owe subjection to them. No human authority can bind us in opposition to the laws of virtue and righteousness, Servants must be obedient to their masters, as to Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." They no farther obey their masters, according to the will of God, than they make his will the rule and measure of their obedience to their masters. They have no right to withhold obedience, on pretence that the matter enjoined may not be for their master's interest. But they are bound to withhold it, when they know the thing required is contrary to God's command,