« PreviousContinue »
to curse them, or bann them, or to go with a dog's Paternoster, humping, or muinping at the matter, not willing to do their masters' commandment; or be such, that have need to be pricked forward with beating, whipping, or other punishment. For the servant should do his master's lawful commandment freely, willingly, and with gladness.
Thinking that ye serve the Lord, and not men. This thing may comfort the servant: and in this servants may comfort themselves and rejoice ; that they, doing the lawful commandments of their masters, do serve not man, but God. And this comfort may take away the painfulness of tlieir great labours; which painfulness also may assuage the reward which God hath promised to give to faithful servants.
And fear, unfaithful and evil servants, the pain threatened to evil servants ; for as there is a reward promised to good servants, so there is a pain to evil servants, which God will give, when he seeth his time, - Ver. 9. And, ye masters, do even the same unto them, putting away threalenings ; and know, that even your Master also is in heaven, neither is there any respect of persons with him. i
Here he sheweth the office of masters to their servants. It is the office of masters to shew themselves meek and gentle to their servants, whom they must suffer not to want necessaries, neither to want meat or clothing ; not to treat them with great harshness, fierceness, or cruelness; not to lay great burdens on their backs, or to put them to intolerable labours and pains. But the masters should think their servants to be men, made after the similitude of God, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, to be heirs and inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven, as well as they.
Finally, let masters so order themselves towards
not to chtle to
their servants, and be so loving, so kind, so gentle, that of their servants they may be more loved than dreaded ; and do more for their love, than for fear, or for profit.
Putting away threatenings. The Lord commandeth the masters, not only to put away beatings and punishments, but also all cruel threatenings, fears, and fell words, which make the servants ofttimes to Tun away and forsake their master, contrary to the law of God. This place reproveth masters that are terrifying and cruel, and froward to their servants ; that threaten great and grievous plagues and punishments, thinking they shall do more with rough and rigorous means, than with loving words and gentle ashions. .
. . . . vs · But such froward masters deceive themselves, for gentleness will do more with an honest servant, and with him that feareth God, than any rough words or rigorous manners :, for there are few servants that be amended by bunching, beating, or other grievous punishment. If he need much punishment, it is a token he is an evil servant, and little regardeth his profit, or his master's profit, honesty, or worship.
And know, that your Master is in heaven. He sheweth the cause why masters should treat their servants gently, and remit to them plagues, punishments, and threatenings ; because God the Father, which is in heaven, is the Lord of the servants, as well as he is of the masters ; and will make the servants equal with the masters in heaven. For God doth not regard the persons of men, whether they be masters or servants, but looketh at every man's office and duty; and whom he findeth to have done their office and duty well, he will reward them with a great reward : and whom he findeth negligent in their office, and not to have done their duty, he will punish, whether they be masters or servants.
Ver. 10-12. Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might ; put on the armour of God, that ye may stand stedfast against the crafty assaults of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against rule, against power, namely, against the rulers of the world, of the darkness of this world, against the spirits of wickedness under the heaven.
The Apostle herebefore hath exhorted men to the unity of the spirit, to peace, to concord; and hath shewed certain degrees how they shall live in their state, and do their duty; as what is the duty of the wife to the husband, and of the husband to the wife; of the children to their parents, and of the parents to their children ; of the servants to their masters, and of masters to their servants. Now he sheweth, that those that will live after the rule described to them of Paul, sometimes shall have enemies, and temptations of the devil, whom they must resist and overcome; and here he sheweth what armour they must have to fight against enemies, and by what weapons they shall overcome enemies. Therefore, he commandeth them to be strong, not in themselyes, in their own might or power, but in the Lord, and in the power of the Lord, by the which the enemies shall be overcome. If we be strong in the Lord, we need not to fear enemies, for the Lord is strong enough to overcome enemies and all adversaries; and we by him, for he hath care of us, and will defend us from enemies, if we trust in him.
Put on the armour of God, that ye may stand stedfast against the crafty assaults of the devil. In these words he sheweth with what weapons we should be armed, so that we may stand stedfast and sure against the assaults and crafts of the devil: and to overcome him, and put away his temptations, by the which he tempteth us; as by carnal pleasure of the flesh, by covetousness of riches, or desires of worldly honours : by threatening or fear of the world, or loss of goods, favour, or promotion ; by the which means the devil useth to pluck men from God, and from his word. This armour, by the which we shall resist the devil and his temptation, is not by the light of the holy candle (hallowed on Candlemas day), by sprinkling of holy water, by the ringing of the hallowed great bell, by having on the body a cross made on Palm-sunday, and agnus dei, called, Ethelred lace about the neck; not by going to religions invented by man, by taking this habit or that habit of religion, in this place or in that place; not by shutting up within walls, never to come out again, as if the devil could not come within such walls, or by eating of fish always, and never filesh. These are not the armour that the Apostle biddeth us to put on to resist the devil with : but he biddeth us put on the armour of God; that is, the word of God, by the which the devil is resisted and overcome, and all his crafts and temptations be made in vain. By this armour Christ overcame the devil (Mat. iv.), to teach us with what armour we should fight against the devil, and how to overcome him and all his temptations, and keep us safe from all hurt, or peril of the temptations of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, and so forth: as if he should say, we must not only fight against the temptations of the flesh and of the world, but also against more cruel adversaries than these be, as against the devil, wicked spirits, and all other powers. And here the Apostle, like a valiant and prudent captain of war, exhorteth his soldiers to be of good cheer, and to fear nothing their enemies, although they be fierce, cruel, and crafty, and have great policy, ingenuity, and experience in fighting: He openeth all their craft and subtilty, their fears, cruelness, and their bold assaults, that his soldiers might know their adversaries' craft, and kill them in their own turn, and beware of their malice. He encourages them to fight against the devil, and giveth them armour to fight against him, and moveth them to fight like valiant soldiers, and in no wise to shrink or give place : and he sheweth them their enemies against whom they should fight; also their inight and power, their fearfulness and cruelness, if they be not resisted manfully with the word and help of God, by the which all these adversaries be soon overcome.
And he speaketh after this manner, what strong eneinies to man are filesh and blood, carnal concupiscence and lust, tyranny of evil men, persecution of the truth, and the malice of men, stirred up by the devil, to bring men from God, to deny his truth. But these enemies are nothing, if they be compared with the devil and his powers, wicked spirits and fiends, which, as it appeareth, have here divers names, from the diversity of their offices that they do here in the air, to hurt men. They be called powers, rulers of darkness of this world, spirits of wickedness, by the which he meaneth nothing else, but that Peter saith (1 Pet. v.), “ Our adver sary, the devil, goeth about as a ramping lion, seeking whom he may kill and devour by all means and crafts; but resist him with the armour of God, and he shall be overcome.” • Ver. 13-17. For this cause, take ye the armour of God, that ye may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand perfect in all things. Stand therefore, and your loins girded alout with the truth ; having on the breast-plate of righteousness; and shod upon your feet with the Gospel of peace, that ye may be prepared. Above all things take hold of the shield of faith, wherewith ye may quench the fiery darts of the