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but that the members should have the same care one for another:' 1 Cor. xii, 25.
Whatever, therefore, you meet with in this Tract, which treats of what you owe to the happiness of your employers, is by no means to be understood as if the payment would lessen your own stock of happiness. I mean to show rather, that your interests are mutual; and that what promotes your Master's comfort, as truly increases your own. A fatherly regard to your true interest ought never to be forgotten, either by your Minister or Master: both are bound to remember, that they also have a Master in Heaven, who has commanded them to love their neighbour as themselves,' Matt. xxii, 39; and to give unto their servants that which is just and equal :' Col. iv, 1.
It is just and equal, then, that faithful service should meet with suitable protection and encouragement. Neither the laws of God nor man forbid your prudently seeking relief under want, excessive labour, or injuries of any kind. You are justified in quitting a place in which you cannot enjoy health, nor obtain reasonable support and comfort. But prudence requires you to be cautious how you change your place, merely for the sake of greater wages. Many a servant has sold health, comfort, and character, yea the safety also of body and soul, for a paltry consideration in money: and learned too late, that one place, with small wages, is often better, all things considered, than another with large.
Much less let a hasty word or momentary vexation throw you out of place. This is acting more like a passionate child than a man. Whatever you do in a passion, you will repent of doing. It is always folly, -often madness. "No government,” says an able
“ writer, “could subsist for a day, if single errors could justify defection :” and we may add, That such as throw up their posts for an error's sake, will probably spend their lives in smarting for their rashness,
of which you
In wishing to change your place, you should recollect that every change will bring with it its own inconveniences and difficulties; and some, have no suspicion till you feel them. It is childish to form high expectations of a new thing. People of experience expect but little from the most flattering prospects and proposals. Sin, like a blight, has entered every place, and withered the most pleasant of its fruits and flowers. If good men, (like Aaron, Eli, and David,) are obliged to lament that their house is not so with God, 2 Sam. xxiii, 5, as they wish and earnestly pray for, what can we expect from the generality of houses ?
You should also never forget that we carry the greatest part of the trouble we complain of in our own bosoms.
When we wish a change, we for the most part, are like sick persons, who imagine, that if they could change sides in their bed they should be easier: they turn, but they are still uneasy: and why? because they are still sick. This life was never intended to be the rest of either master or servant : both have their burdens; and the master's is oftentimes the heavier of the two.
The dutiful and pious conduct of some servants toward their indigent relations should not be forgotten. I have seen a daughter willing to wear mean clothes, that her aged mother might have some to
I have also seen such conduct blessed with distinguished favour. 'Honour,' therefore thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee:' Eph. vi, 2, 3.
As reputation in general is that which gives weight and influence to any man, so the reputation of servants is peculiarly their strength. A servant with health and character is provided for. "A good name is better than precious ointment:' Eccl. vii, 1, A silent steadiness, à tried integrity and diligence, are so
essential to the interests of mankind, that no master can be insensible to their value. Be assured, that the wealthiest and the happiest are so needy, in this respect, that such service must always bear a high price.
Let nothing, therefore, base or false, rob you of that precious jewel, your reputation. Be honest, diligent, and civil, if it be only out of respect to yourself. Who is not struck with the answer of that slave which history records, who, standing among others for sale, and being asked by a purchaser, “Wilt thou be faithful, if I buy thee ?" replied, “Yes, whether you buy me or not!
But character, especially among females, (to whom I now speak) is easily blasted, so as to be irrecoverably lost. If any consideration can lessen the crime of the villain who attempts to strip you of it, it must be that of his not considering the depth of ruin into which he would plunge you. Should he, however, be cruel cnough to neglect the consideration, surely you will not forget, that want of reputation, and the despair which attends it, fill our streets with prostitutes ; murdering, at once, both body and soul. Depend upon it, that he, who would dishonour you, has no sincere affection for
you; and the moment you suffer him to pass the bounds of the strictest decorum, he must lose even his respect for you: that very respect, upon which alone a true and constant regard is built.
Your safety partly consists in being aware of your danger. Detect Ruin in its first approaches. Understand its smiling aspect and plausible pretence. Particularly avoid dangerous occasions, and whatever you find likely to deprive you of your resolution. They have made but little observation on their own hearts, who have not learned how weak their reason and resolution are, in the moment of temptation: and,
therefore, that their safety lies in making a timely escape; that is to say, an immediate one.
To speak more generally-Bad company is so mischievous, that when a young servant is observed to be entering into it, every person of compassion and discernment recoils at the sight, as at seeing a sheep enter the slaughter-house. Who, that has seen any thing of life, does not know the mischief of a vicious conversation and example? What will not an unprincipled tongue dare to assert? What so sacred that does not serve it for a jest? What character or service will it not teach others to despise? What corrupt maxim or vain project will it not recommend ? I have known a short conversation quite unhinge a sober mind. have observed a few hints plant disorder and wretchedness in a once contented breast, that could never afterward be rooted out. I have even been surprised to find how soon a bad example would transform one that has been long humble, diligent, and conscientious, into the very reverse.
In a word, such a tongue is, indeed an unruly evil,” and “full of deadly poison,' James iii, 8; and the danger is the greater, because the poison is often mixed with something curious and entertaining, or is presented under the notion of friendship. The venom, thus sweetened, creeps into the heart before even its danger is suspected: but beware of this deadly cup as you prize your safety: the more pleasing you find it, the more dangerous it is. The best advice here is, that which comes from the highest authority: ''Avoid it: pass not by it: turn from it, and pass away: Prov. iv, 15.
I think I ought not to omit warning you of the snare which attends gaming, or adventuring in lotteries. Covetousness lies at the root of it; and a discontent with that provision, which God hath already made
It is He, who has placed us in our different stations, and bids each to take heed and beware of covetousness,' Luke xii, 15, and to depend for our support
upon him who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds : and far from encouraging a man in those crooked paths which lead to wasting, and sometimes to stealing, he charges him to “labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give (even though he is but a labourer) to him that needeth:' Eph. iv, 28.
Many honest and prosperous servants, led away by the puffing proposals of gain which are every where to be met with, would think a real friend was romancing, if he should give them an account of the distresses, frauds, lies, and other desperate steps to which such projects often lead; and which sometimes end, not only in the loss of character, but even of life. Such an account, I say, might surprise those who know but little of the world, and the effect of its gilded baits; but is this account any thing more than what has actually happened again and again? And, if we often hear of such things, how many more evils of this sort may we reasonably suppose there are of which we never hear! But it is with gaming, as with most other bad habits: it advances a step at a time. The first step is thought to be innocent and safe: the next is not considered as very dangerous: the third, however dangerous, is yet deemed, in present circumstances, absolutely necessary: till, at length, the deluded adventurer awakes, as from a dream, to reflect (but too late) upon his folly and his ruin.
If I have said nothing of swearing, drunkenness, indecency, violence, &c. it is merely because such vices are too gross and scandalous to need exposing in such a Tract as this. Who, that commits these crimes, does not, upon reflection feel ashamed of them? There are, however, some considerations at the end of the book, to which such an unhappy character would do well to take heed, before it is too late: for 'he, that being often reproved, hardeneth his