Page images
PDF
EPUB

and in arrogancy: they are taught not to know God, but theinselvés ; to know themselves, not evil, the children of ire and of darkness by nature; but to be gentlemen and lords, to be preferred before others, and to prefer themselves before others, and to contémn others. Children åre not brought up in the learning of the Lord ; as in the reading of the holy Scriptures, and in the knowledge of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ ; but if they be brought up in learning, they are, for the most part, brought up in. profane learning, and in the reading of profane authors; of the which, they may learn eloquence and worldly wisdoin; and for that end, profane authors do serve, and not to teach Christian faith or mánners. And as children be brought up in profane learning, and of them learn profane manners: so they walk in profane manners and conditions, and so continue, and shewin their living, profane manners and conditions, and be so affected, as the Gentile authors be, that they have read, and form their judgments after them : exarnples there be too many.

Therefore, let children learn eloquence and worldly wisdom of Gentile authors, if they will; and a Christian faith and godly manners, to order their living, according to the doctrine of Christ, of the holy Scriptures ; which alone teach faith, true judgments, and good manners. I will not here speak of them, that be so brought up in learning, that not only they do not read the holy Scriptures, but rather teach others to beware of holy Scriptures, and neither to look on them, nor to study them, as things unmeet for children to look on. I will not now speak of those that do contemn, despise, and set holy Scripture at nought, or regard it not so much as a profane author ; yea, have a natural hatred against it, insomuch, that they will not once vouchsafe to read it themselves, nor yet suffer others to read it ; and yet this evil bringing up, hath been the cause, why so many be so loth to receive holy Scripture, and why they be so evil affected in judgments towards the holy Scripture, that as yet, scarce they can bear any one to have the New Testament in English, or to read it to their comfort and edifying ; and cannot bear the truth to be preached to them. Such hath been their evil bringing up, and the smell of the liquor that was first put in their new bottles.

Therefore, look diligently, ye fathers and mothers, what liquor ye put in the new bottles, that is, in your children in their youth; for they will smell of the same liquor in their age. Therefore, if you will have them good, honest, virtuous, and obedient to you, look that they be brought up in the learning of holy Scripture, which alone teacheth all goodness, true holiness, true virtue, and due obedience to God and his commandments, to father and mother, and to all others. I will not speak of gentlemen's children, that be brought up in idleness, wantonness, in play, in pastime, in hunting, and hawking, in riding, in keeping of horses and dogs, in singing, dancing, leaping, rioting, revelling, in hearing unclean songs or ballads, otherwise called merry songs, meet for a gentleman : as who should say, the office of gentlemen or noblemen is nothing else, but to hunt and hawk, to be idle, to take pastime and pleasure: as who should say, their lands and possessions were given for that end. Let them read the Scriptures, and they shall find that they be appointed to other offices, which require great labour and pains, and great knowledge, if they shall do their duties as they should do. Let them look, what thing pertaineth to the office of powers and of magistrates; and the same thing, gentlemen or noblemen, should think it pertaineth to them, for they be magistrates or rulers, under the king or prince, to

see God's law fulfilled ; to see that peace, equity, and justice, be kept, and sin and vice clearly put away.

Ver. 5-8. Ye servants, obey your bodily masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of your hearts, even as to Christ; not with service only in the eyesight, as men-pleasers : but, as the servants of God, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will. Think, that ye serve the Lord, and not men; and be sure, that what good soever a man doeth, he shall receive it again of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Now he teacheth the office of servants : whose office is to be obedient to their masters, whom they serve here in the worid, in order to have meat, drink, clothes, and wages : or whom they serve for to learn handicraft, to get their living justly and truly, after the time of their apprenticeship. He commandeth all servants, howsoever they be servants, to be obedient to their masters in all lawful things and lawful service; and to do their masters' commandments justly and truly, without all murmuring or grudging in heart and mind against God or their masters; and to refuse no lawful work or labour, that their masters will put them to. If it be such a work, as servants have not been wont to do, it is no shame for the servant to do it, but rather dishonesty in the master to command it, when it may be done by another servant accustomed to the same: as there are divers works more accustomed to be done by men-servants, than women-servants, and some others by women-servants, rather than by men-servants. The Apostle willeth also, that servants shall have their masters in honour and reverence, and have a lowly fear towards them; by the which fear they should be afraid to displease their masters, not only to avoid beating and punishment of their masters, but for love to their masters, wbom for love they would not displease. Here we may learn, that it is not against the liberty of the Gospel to serve carnal masters, and men here in the world: for this service is the liberty of the Lord; and those that do serve their masters, as they should do, ghey, serving their inasters, and doing their mașters' lawful commandment, do serve God, and do the commandment of God, as he sheweth hereafter, as

ye may read.

In simpleness of your hearts : he commandeth the servants to serve their masters in all simpleness of heart, without all craft, falsehood, guile, debate, fraud, theft, or dissembling, in word, or in deed; in the which faults servants be ofttimes guilty. This place reproveth all those servants, that deceive their masters by any guile, craft, or falsehood ; by dissembling, or theft, by bribing or stealing away privily their master's goods. This place requireth, that servants be faithful and trusty to their masters, and that in no wise they deceive their masters, either in word, work, or deed.

Even as to Christ, not with service only in the eyesight, as men-pleasers ; but as servants of Christ : he willeth, that servants serve their maşters with faithfulness, truth, diligence, and gladness, as they should serve God, and Jesus Christ. For servants, serving their masters, they serye Jesus Christ, and do the work of God, and are occupied in God's service, no less, yca, peradventure, better than they that continually be occupied in God's service, as it is called. For servants, obeying their masters, and doing their masters' commandment, have for them the word of God, that they work the work of God, howsoever it be counted of men: as if they should make clean the kitchen, or kennel, or any other such vile office (as it may be counted), at their masters' commandment, they work the work of God. Therefore, let not servants consider the vileness of the work they be commanded to do, but the command

ment of God, that hath commanded them to do their masters' commandinents. And so the lawful commandment of their masters is the commandment of God. And servants, that do their commandment, do the work of God, and obey God, so doing. If servants knew, that they served our Lord God, and did the work of God, when they obey their masters, and do their masters' commandment, surely, with more gladness they would bear and suffer the pain and wearisomeness of their great labours wbich they suffer from being servants : and with more glad heart they would dotheir masters' labours and business, were the labours never so painful.

Also, servants may not be as eye-pleasers only: that is, in the presence of their masters to be diligent, profitable, and to do the work of their masters faithfully, and so to please their masters well in their presence : but in their absence, neither to be faithful, profitable, nor diligent; or care not how their masters work' go forward to their masters' profit. For good servants it becometh to be diligent, faithful, and profitable as well in their masters' absence, as presence; and to serve their masters, as they should serve Jesus Christ, which looketh upon them always, and seeth all they do, who by their guile, craft, or falsehood, go about to deceive their masters. All unfaithfulness and negligence in servants is here rę, proved and condemned by the Apostle.

Doing the will of God from the heart, with a good will

. It becometh servants willingly and gladly with a free heart and mind to serve their masters, and to do those things that God willeth. Wherefore ser, vants may not do evil at the will of their masters, for God willeth no evil,

And also servants may not grudge, or murmur against their masters, when they command them to do painful labours or business ; or to wish them evil,

« PreviousContinue »