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4. We are to submit ourselves to our « masters."
Servants owe very important duties to their masters; and every one who has an opportunity of choosing whom he will serve, should prefer such a one as fears God, and will be willing to promote the salvation of the souls of those who obey him. It is hard work to keep religion alive, even with the greatest helps ; and it is more especially hard, to swim against the stream of example and authority. But, however wicked and however harsh a master may be, it is a servant's duty to obey him in all things lawful, endeavouring to overcome his unkindness by meekness, patience, and respectful attention, and to give him a good opinion of religion by the propriety of his own behaviour under the greatest provocation. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters in single
ness of your heart, as unto Christ. Éph. vi. 5, 6. Not with eye service, as men-pleasers; and whatsoever ye do,
do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Col, iii.
22, 23. Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own
masters worthy of all honour. 1 Tim. xi. 1, 2. If any teach otherwise he is proud, knowing nothing. 1 Tim.
vi. 3, 4. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to
please them well in all things; not answering again; not pur
loining, but showing all good fidelity. Tit. ii.9, 10. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to
the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 1 Pet. ii. 18.
Remember the blessing that Naaman received by means of a religious servant. 2 Kings v.
5. “To order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters.”
Young persons ought to respect and honour the elder, and those in lower stations should behave respectfully to their superiors, not envying their apparent advantages, but considering, that in every state of life, there are inconveniences unknown to others. Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face
of the old man. Lev. xix. 32. Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. 1 Pet. v. 5.
This commandment also includes the duty of superiors to inferiors, and parents are to discharge the duties they owe to their children, viz.
1. To bring them up carefully and religiously. Train up a child in the way he should go. Prov. xxii. 6. Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Eph. vi. 4.
2. To encourage them when they do well. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be dis
couraged. Col. ii. 21. 3. To correct them when they do amiss. Chasten thy son while there is hope. Prov. xix. 18.
4. To treat them with gentleness and love. Like as a father pitieth his children. Ps. ciii. 13. I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth
him. Mal. iii. 17. if your parents do not discharge their duty to you, are you
therefore at liberty to neglect your duty to them? Certainly not. What is the promise made to those who keep this Command
ment? That thy days may be long in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first command
ment with promise ; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth. Eph. vi. 2, 3.
It applies to the land of Canaan, and of course could be fulfilled literally in the case of the Jews only. Yet it marks the Lord's approbation of the conduct required by this commandment; for length of days was considered by the Israelites as the chief blessing. Let us also be obedient, and this promise shall be fulfilled towards us, if it be for our good. If it be denied us, it will be in mercy, and we shall receive an abundant compensation in being admitted into the heavenly Canaan, that better inheritance, where far greater and more durable joys await us, and where our abode shall no longer be measured by days, and months, and years, but shall extend throughout eternity.
We see, also, that government and subordination is God's ordinance. A proud, seditious conduct leads to contention and every evil work. People should not listen to men who rail against those in authority, and endeavour to set the hearts of subjects against their governors. The powers that be are ordained of God. Rulers are appointed to dispense justice by his authority; and insults levelled at them are offered to God himself, and will assuredly be avenged by him, either in this world, or at the day of judgment. Seditious persons are generally those who are restrained by no fear of God, atheists and
blasphemers, to whom religion is as hateful, as are just laws and good government.
But you should not only abstain from all acts of sedition and rebellion, or from associating with seditious and rebellious people, but should observe the utmost respect in your deportment towards all your superiors.
You should especially love and respect your spiritual pastors and teachers, who watch over your souls, as those ihat must give an account, and not grieve them by negligence or contempt of their instructions. You should also serve your masters and employers faithfully, not with eyeservice only, but from the heart; obeying their orders diligently and cheerfully, not purloining, nor loitering away your time, but showing all good fidelity. Above all, you should love, honour, and succour your parents, and not give them the slightest reason to complain of your conduct towards them. It has frequently been remarked, that undutiful children seldom prosper in this world, and their punishment will be among the severest that can be inflicted in the next. See then, that you do not incur the curse denounced against such unnatural conduct. Misconduct on the part of your parents will be no excu for your unkind treatment of them. You are to bear with their infirmities, and to pray for, and endeavour to reclaim them from their sins : not to quarrel with them, neglect them, or forsake them. Show by your observance of this commandment, that you love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. So shall you be adopted as a child of God, and become an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
ON THE COMMANDMENTS,
$ 7. sixth COMMANDMENT. What is the sixth Commandment?
Thou shalt do no murder. What is murder ?
Taking away the life of another WILFULLY and UNLAWFULLY
It was an affront to God, being an attack on man, who was made in the image of God. Gen. ix. 6.
Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him: and God
said, The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground; and now art thou cursed from the earth, &c. Gen.
iv. 8-11. Jacob was directed to pronounce his sons, Simeon and Levi,
cursed, because they slew the men of Shechem. Gen. xlix.
5. 7. What is killing a person wilfully in sudden anger, but not
with premeditation, called ? It is called manslaughter, which is a very great crime, but not equal to murder. If he thrust him suddenly without enmity, without laying of
wait—that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm—the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and restore him to the city of
his refuge, whither he was fled. Num. xxxv. 22—28. Why do you say wilfully?
Because to kill another by accident, and without design, is not murder. When a man goeth to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke
with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour that he die, he shall tiee unto one of those cities and live ;-inasmuch as he
hated him not in time past. Deut. xix. 4–6. Why do you say unlawfully ?
1. Because if a man slay another in his own defence, or in that of another person, or in protection of his own, or another person's property, he is not therefore a murderer. But it must be observed, that we ought to be very cautious how we deprive a fellow creature of life, when our own, or that of others, is not absolutely in danger. 1f a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die,
there shall no blood be shed for him. Exod. xxii. 2. 2. If a soldier kill a man while fighting the battles of his country, he is not therefore a murderer; as we do not find the profession of a soldier considered unlawful in scripture. The soldiers said, And what shall we do? And he said unto
them, Do violence to no man; and be content with your
wages. Luke üi. 14. Jesus said of the centurion, I have not found so great faith, no
not in Israel. Luke vii. 8, 9. Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band, was a devout man,
and one that feared God, with all his house, and prayed to God alway. Acts x. 1, 2. 3. If a judge, in the discharge of his office, passes sentence of death upon a man, he is not therefore a murderer.
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
Gen. ix. 6. If a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay
him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar that he may die. Exod. xxi. 14. He that killeth a man shall surely be put to death. Lev. xxiv.
17. 21. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death;
ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed
it. Num. xxxv. 30–33. If a man smite his brother that he die, the elders of the city
shall deliver him to the avenger of blood that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity, but life shall go for life, eye for eye,
tooth for tooth, &c. Deut. xix. 11. 13. 21. Are there any other methods of breaking this commandmentą
besides the act of taking away a man's life in the ways
above mentioned ? Yes, by suicide, or killing one's self, as did Saul and his armour-bearer, 1 Sam.xxxi. 4; Ahithophel, 2 Sam. xvii. 23; and Judas, Matt. xxvii. 5. We have no right to destroy that life which God has given us for his glory.
By duelling, i. e. two persons fighting with such weapons as may cause death to either of them.
By the very common but dangerous practice of boxing, which sometimes results in the death of one of the parties.
By assisting others to take away a man's life; or by allowing or advising them to do it. David slew Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon.
2 Sam. xii. 9. Ahab was charged with killing Naboth, because he permitted
Jezebel to do it. 1 Kings xxi. 8. 19. Nebuchadnetzar was guilty of murder, although God saved Sha
drach, Meshach, and Abednego, from the burning fiery furnace. Dan. iii. 'The chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Jesus.
Luke xxii. 2. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
Luke xxiii. 24. Whence come wars and fightings among you ? even of your
lusts that war in your members. James iv. 1, 2. An attempt to murder, though the deed be not accomplished, is a breach of this commandment, and is punishable by the laws. Nay, the very intent to commit this dreadful crime, though no steps be taken in furtherance of it, makes us guilty in the sight of God, and if unrepented of, will expose us to the vengeance with which he threatens all murderers.