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attention to any serious remark he also instructed in their duties, by may make, or commendation he may directions and examples, in the holy give to a book or a preacher: and Scriptures. The Christian's printhis will discountenance vice and ciples will influence him to consider impiety; nay, perhaps it may dis- true piety as an invaluable accespose some to examine the nature of sion to the character of a servant that religion, which produces such who suits him in other respects; excellent fruits: whilst violent and and to seek the blessing with ferzealous disputes for doctrines, in him vent prayer; and by making his whose conduct is disobliging and place desirable to such persons. If impertinent, not to say slothful and he be thus favoured, he will endea dishonest, expose to contempt the vour to behave to his servant as a very truths for which he contends. brother in the faith; he will make The same principles will also lead proper allowances for mistakes and a man to follow after peace with defects; and value a servant, who, his fellow servants: he will not in- on the whole, is faithful, upright, deed silently see his master de- diligent, and peaceable, though he frauded, or join with others in riot: be not without faults; knowing but he will avoid a morose and in-how much the comfort of his family vidious conduct; not reporting, or and the best interests of his childeven protesting against trifles; but ren depend on such domestics. If only against manifest evils: endea- he meet with bad servants, he will vouring by kindness, patience when strive to repress his anger, to avoid ridiculed, and forgiveness when in- reproaches, and to behave well to jured, to win their attention to calm them, till he can change them. If discourse on Divine things. He his servants suit him in other rewill also take care never to seek his spects, but are strangers to religion, own interest by countenancing chil- he will use all proper means of dren in misconduct to their parents, conciliating their minds to it. In or each other; though he will oblige general, such a master will not them for their good. He will not expect more work from his servants treat indigent relations or depen- than they can well perform; nor dents with galling neglect, or attend deprive them of time for relaxation on them with grudging. If he be and retirement. He will deem it obliged to refuse obedience to an his duty to give them adequate improper command, he will do it wages, and to make their situation with mildness and respect. If his as comfortable as he can. He will time be too much taken up on the provide them with things suitable Lord's day, he will endeavour to to their station, when in health: redeem what remains more dili- and be very tender to them in sickgently; and if he be constrained to ness; procuring them help in their leave his place, he will be careful work under slighter indispositions, how he needlessly lessens his mas- and proper advice, if he can, in more ter's character in his own vindica- acute sickness (Matt. viii. 1-9). tion. The same rules, with circum- He will not think himself justified stantial alterations, suit the case of by custom, in turning away a faithapprentices and labourers; and all ful servant, by sending him to an who are employed by others, ac-hospital, because he cannot do his cording to the degree and nature of work, if he have it in his power to the trust reposed in them (Gen. xxiv.)

On the other hand, masters are

prevent it: but will consider, that he who has the benefit of his skill and labour when well, ought to

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submit to trouble and expense for not to speak evil of them, to pay him when sick. Nay if he can them tribute conscientiously; to afford it, he will copy the example pray for them, and to study to be of the Lord, in respect of the aged ; quiet and mind the duties of their as he does not forsake his servants station. The duty of rulers and in their old age, or when their magistrates, as far as it falls under strength faileth. Remembering our plan, will be mentioned in an that he also hath a master in hea- Essay on the improvement of ven," he will consult their interests, talents. The poor should behave, and be a sincere and faithful friend with respect to the rich, without to them, in whatever may tend to envying, coveting, or repining. their comfortable settlement in life. The rich should be courteous, He will not keep them at a disdain- condescending, compassionate, and ful distance, or answer them with liberal to the poor; and set them harshness, even when they are mis- an edifying example of piety. taken or unreasonable; nor express The young should behave with discouraging suspicions of them, modesty, deference, and attention or descant on their faults to others. to the old; especially to such as The same principles will influence are godly, however poor they may him to consider the souls of his be. The aged should temper gradomestics as intrusted to his care. vity and seriousness with cheerfulHe will, therefore, order his affairs ness and kindness in their conduct so, as may give them most leisure to the young. The faithful pastor and opportunity for hallowing the will study from the Scriptures his Lord's day; and use his authority duty to his flock; and the consistent in enforcing that observance (Gen. Christian will, even in this relaxed xviii. 19). He will read the Scrip- day, consider himself as bound to tures to them, and join with them honour, love, and attend to his in family prayer; he will arrange faithful pastor. In one word, true his daily plans in subserviency to Christianity will influence every that grand concern, and avoid what-man to fill up his station, in the ever may prejudice their minds family, the church, and the commuagainst it. He will watch over nity, to the glory of God, and the their morals and principles, and common benefit of the whole; and exclude from them infectious com- all that comes short of this is the panions, as much as possible. effect of remaining contrariety to its Thus he will make family religion heavenly principles, in the judgthe cement of family peace, and not ment and dispositions of true Chrisonly aim to influence his servants tians, and among those who name by love to willing obedience, but to the name of Christ, but depart not give them cause to bless the day from iniquity.

when they entered his doors, both in this world and for ever (Acts. x. 7, 22; Eph. vi. 9; Col. iv. 1). Many other relative duties might be dis


his Talents.

cussed; but this topic has already On the Christian's Improvement of occupied a full proportion of the limits prescribed to these Essays. Subjects are required to obey the WHEN the humble penitent has lawful commands of magistrates; to obtained peace of conscience by respect their persons and reverence faith in Christ, and enjoys a prevailtheir authority, as God's ordinance; ing hope of eternal life; he will be

disposed, in proportion as his views of religion, who harbour hard are distinct and consistent, to in-thoughts of God, and a secret disquire seriously by what means he like to his service, as it were, bury may best glorify the God of his in the earth. Of these, the true salvation, and do the most good to disciple of Christ will avail himself; mankind during the remainder of and by "occupying with the talent his days? For the love of Christ," entrusted to him," he will both (in dying on the cross to deliver prove his own faith to be living and sinners from the wrath to come, and his love sincere, and also become as to purchase for them everlasting" a light in the world," and "the felicity; and in calling him, as he salt of the earth" (Matt. v. 13-16; hopes, to partake of so inestimable 2 Cor. viii. 7, 8; James ii. 14-26). a blessing) "will constrain him to Every man has some measure of, live no longer to himself, but to these advantages afforded him, acHim who died for him and rose cording to the appointment of infiagain." This will induce him to nite wisdom, which also assigns to consider very attentively, what each person his station in the church advantages or opportunities his and the community: and if a man situation affords him, of promoting profess the gospel, the use he makes the honour of the Redeemer's name, of these advantages is one of the the peace, purity, and enlargement most decisive tests, by which the of his kingdom, the comfort and sincerity of that profession may be edification of his people, and the ascertained, and the degree of his welfare, temporal and eternal, of grace estimated. But the improvethe human species. These oppor-ment, and not the number of his tunities and advantages are com- talents, is to be considered in this monly called talents, from the para-decision: "he that is faithful in ble which our Lord spoke on this a little, is faithful also in much" subject (Matt. xxv. 14-30); and (Luke xvi. 9-12): and whilst the doubtless this portion of Scripture, servant to whom many talents have and that coincident with it (Luke been entrusted may be more extenxix. 11—27), relate entirely to this sively useful, he that hath improved matter; for they do not point out a very small proportion may be the method of salvation, as if the equally favoured of his Lord; and improvement of natural powers or the poor widow's two mites may be common grace could merit or pro-more evidential of sincere love and cure special grace (as some have fervent zeal, than the liberal donaconfusedly argued); for special tions of the affluent. grace produces the inclination and Almost every thing may be condisposition to use natural powers, sidered as a talent; for a good or a and all other advantages aright; bad use may be made of every nawhich all men who are destitute of tural endowment, or providential it are wholly disposed to abuse, as appointment; or they may remain far as selfish principles will permit unoccupied, through inactivity and them. But there are a variety of selfishness. Time, health, vigour endowments and opportunities that of body with the power of exertion may be improved to the best of pur- and enduring fatigue, the natural poses, but which wicked men em- and acquired abilities of the mind, ploy in gratifying their base lusts, skill in any lawful art or science, to the increase of their own guilt, the capacity for close mental appliand the injury of all around them; cation, the gift of speech, and that and which mere formal professors of speaking with fluency and pro

priety, and in a convincing, attrac-| I. Power and authority constitute tive, or persuasive manner; wealth, a most important trust, committed influence, or authority; a man's by the Great Ruler of the Universe situation in the church, the commu-to some of the human race, for the nity, or relative life; and the vari- benefit of the whole, and of every ous occurrences which make way individual, as far as consistent with for him to attempt any thing of a lit. In one sense or other, the beneficial tendency; these and many Scripture represents all power as others, that can scarce be enume-derived from God, and all rulers as rated, are talents which the consis- the ministers of his providence in tent Christian will improve to the governing the world: who must all glory of God and the benefit of man- render an account to him, both for kind. Nay, this improvement of the manner in which they acquired talents procures an increase of them, dominion, and the use they make of and gives a man an accession of it. Waving, therefore, all questions influence, and an accumulating on these subjects, it suffices to power of doing good; because it say, that too many, who in any way tends to establish his reputation for have exercised authority over their prudence, piety, integrity, sincerity, brethren, have made a very bad use and disinterested benevolence; it of it. Ambition, vain-glory, lust of gradually forms him to an habitual dominion, rapacity, caprice, envy, readiness to engage in beneficent furious anger or dire revenge, designs, and to conduct them in a superstition or impiety, have often gentle, unobtrusive, and unassuming influenced them to employ their manner; it disposes others to regard power in exciting and waging bloody him with increasing confidence and wars, destructive to their subjects affection, and to approach him with as well as to foreigners; in oppresssatisfaction; and it procures for ing and burthening the poor; in him the countenance of many per- favouring the exactions and oppressons, whose assistance he can em-sions which they ought to have ploy in accomplishing his own crushed; in protecting and advansalutary purposes. For, as far as cing the men whom they should we are consistent in our views of have punished: in harassing those our calling and business in the whom it was their duty to have world, we shall, both in the concerns protected; in persecuting their of our own salvation and in endea- peaceable subjects for their religivouring to be useful, imitate the ous opinions; and thus in various skilful mariner, who always keeps ways increasing the miseries, which his port in mind, and gets forward they were exalted on purpose to in his voyage, by using every wind remedy. There have also been that blows to help him as far as some, who, as princes or magistrates, it can be done, and avails himself to have upon the whole behaved negathe utmost of every circumstance tively well: they have not waged that arises from gales, currents, unnecessary wars, or molested &c., to accomplish the purpose at their subjects by oppressions or which he perpetually aims. But persecutions: but have been peacewe shall perhaps obtain a more ably contented with the splendour, distinct view of the subject, by dignity, and pleasures of their staselecting a specimen of these tion, and have left it to their servants talents, and the improvement of to keep the machine of government which they are capable. in motion. They have, therefore,


done far less mischief than some limitate it; consequently their examothers; but they have not done the ple becomes proportionably more good incumbent on them, nor pre-important. This will be an addivented the evil which has been tional motive to the true Christian, done, perhaps under the sanction to walk circumspectly and accurateof their names, and which they ly; to show himself a pattern of a ought to have strenuously opposed. reverential regard to the name, the "These have buried their talent in day, the word, the house, and the the earth." There have also been ordinances of God; of sobriety, certain rulers and magistrates, who temperance, moderation, and bene, from natural principles have made, ficence in the use of outward things; in some measure, a salutary use of of equity, punctuality, sincerity, their authority: they have enacted and fidelity, in all his transactions, good laws, and administered justice promises, and engagements: of with a considerable degree of impar-meekness, condescension, courteoustiality; they have taken care to ness, kindness, and compassion in preserve their country from foreign all his deportment; and of attention enemies, and have yet avoided war to his domestics, and to all the as far as they consistently could, duties of relative life. He will from a wise preference of the bless-endeavour to unite wisdom, firmings of peace, above the advan-ness, and justice, with candour and tages arising from the most splen- clemency in his public conduct; to did victories; they have relieved manifest a disinterested, impartial the people from burthensome taxes, spirit; to be the patron of the poor, and defended the poor from oppres- the oppressed, and the friendless; sions, and the pious from persecu- without respecting the persons, or tions; and, by thus providing for fearing the unmerited displeasure of the temporal welfare of the state, the rich and powerful; and to cleave they have obtained the endearing to what is right, without warping, title of "Fathers to their people." even when his conduct excites the This conduct the real Christian, censures and clamours of an illwhen placed in authority, will care-judging multitude. His principles fully imitate from higher motives: will influence him "to love righte but he will unite with it an uniform ousness and hate iniquity;" to endeavour to render his whole promote to the utmost the peace of administration subservient to the nations, the good order of the cominterests of true religion: and this munity, and the temporal advantage constitutes the proper improvement of all ranks of men in it. But they of his talents. Not only "the king will also dispose him to render all as supreme,” but all his counsellors this subservient to still more imporand ministers of state, the members tant purposes; and to aim "to of the legislature, and the magis-adorn" and recommend "the doctrates, from the highest to the low-trine of God our Saviour;" to soften est, have a degree of power and men's prejudices, and silence their authority vested in them by the clamours, and to win their attention great Ruler and Judge of the world, to it, by making them feel its benign and to him they must be accountable effects. He will not indeed attempt for the use which they make of it. to compel any man to assent to his As they are placed in a conspicuous creed, or conform to his mode of situation, multitudes scrutinize their worship; for this can only make conduct, either to censure or to hypocrites: but many things may

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