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to me, have not learned the catechism, I will take care that they do it, and give them a reward when they have done it.
V. I will be very inquisitive and solicitous about the company chosen by my servants; and with all possible earnestness rescue them from the shares of evil company, and forbid their being the panions of fools.”
VI. Such of my servants as may be capable of the duty, I will employ to teach lessons of piety to my children, and recompense them for so doing. But I would, by a particular artifice, contrive them to be such lessons as may be for their own edification too.
VII. I will sometimes call my servants alone, talk to them about the state of their souls; tell them how to close with their only Saviour; charge them to do well, and “ lay hold on eternal life;" and show them very particularly how they may render all they do for me, a service to the glorious Lord; how they may do all from a principle of obedience to him, and become entitled to the “reward of the heavenly inheritance."
I add the following passages as an Appendix to these resolutions :
" Age is nearly sufficient, with some masters, to obliterate every letter and action in the history of a meritorious life; and old services are generally buried under the ruins of an old carcass.” And 66 it is a barbarous inhumanity in men towards their ser.. vants, to account their small failings as crimes, without allowing their past services to have been virtues.
O God, keep thy servants from such worse than base ingratitude !”
But then, O SERVANTS, if you would obtain the reward of the inheritance," you should set yourselves to inquire—“ How shall I approve myself such a servant that the Lord may bless the house of my master the more for my being in it?” Certainly, there are many ways in which servants may become blessings. Let your studies, with
continual prayers for the welfare of the families to which you belong, and the example of your sober carriage, render you such. If you will remember but four words, and attempt all that is comprised in them-OBEDIENCE, HONESTY, INDUSTRY, and PIETY—you will be the blessings, and the Josephs of the families to which you belong. Let these four words be distinctly and frequently recollected; and perform cheerfully all you have to do, on this consideration—that it is an obedience to heaven, and from thence will have a recompense.
It was the observation even of a Pagan, “ that a master may receive a benefit from a servant;" and, “ What is done with the affection of a friend, ceases to be the act of a mere servant." Even the MAID SERVANTS of the house
may render an unknown service to it, by instructing the infants, and instilling into their minds the lessons of goodness. Thus, by Bilhah and Zilpah, may children be born again; the mistresses may, by the travail of their handmaids, have children brought into the kingdom of God.
I proceed-Humanity teaches us to take notice of all our kindred. Nature bespeaks what we call
natural affection” to all who are akin to us; to be destitute of it is a very bad character; it is a brand on the worst of men, on such as forfeit the name of
But Christianity is designed to improve it. Our natural affection is to be improved into a religious intention. Make a catalogue of all
your more distant relatives. Consider them one by one; and make every one of them the subject of your good devices.” Consider: “ How may I pursue the good of such a relative? By what means may I render such a relative the better for me?” It is possible you may do something for them which may afford them cause to bless God that ever you were related to them.
Have they no calamity under which you may give them some relief? Is there no temptation against which you may give them some caution? Is there no article of their prosperity to which you may be subservient? At least, with
affectionate prayers, you may go over your catalogue; you may pray for each of them successively by name; and if you can, why may you not also put proper books of piety into their hands, to be durable remembrances of their duties to God, and of
your desires for
promoting their good ?
On doing good to our neighbours. METHINKS this excellent zeal should be extended to our NEIGHBOURHOOD. Neighbours ! you
should stand related to each other; and you should contrive how others may have cause to rejoice that they are in your neighbourhood. “ The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour;" but we shall scarcely consider him to be so, unless he be more excellent as a neighbour: he must excel in the duties of good neighbourhood. Let that man be better than his neighbour, who labours most to be a better neighbour—to do most good to his neighbour.
And here, first the poor people that lie wounded must have oil and wine poured into their wounds. It was a charming trait in the character which a modern prince had acquired—“ To be in distress, is to deserve his favour." O good neighbour! put on that princely, that more than royal quality. See who in the neighbourhood may deserve thy favour. We are told that “pure religion and undefiled (a jewel not counterfeited, and without a flaw) is, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." The orphans and the widows, and all the children of affliction in the neighbourhood, must be visited and relieved with all agreeable kindnesses.
Neighbours! be concerned that the orphans and the widows in your neighbourhood may be well provided for. They meet with grievous difficulties, with unknown temptations. When their nearest relatives were still living, they were, perhaps, but meanly provided for: what then must be their present solitary condition? Their condition should be well considered; and the result of the consideration should be "I delivered the orphan who had no
helper, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.”
In the same way~All the afflicted in the neighbourhood are to be considered. Sirs! would it be too much for you, once in a week at least, to think“ What neighbour is reduced to pinching and painful poverty, or impoverished with heavy losses?What neighbour is languishing with sickness, especially if afflicted with severe disease, and of long continuance?- What neighbour is broken-hearted with sad bereavements, perhaps with the loss of desirable relatives? — What neighbour has a soul violently assaulted by the enemy of souls?” and then, think, “ What can be done for such neighbours?"
You will pity them. The evangelical precept is, “ Have compassion one of another-be pitiful.” It was of old, and ever will be a just expectation, " To him that is afflicted, pity should be shown;" and let our pity to the afflicted draw out our prayer for them. It were a very lovely practice for you in the daily prayer of your closet every evening to think, " What miserable object have I seen to-day, for whom I may do well now to beseech the mercies of the Lord?” But this is not all; it is possible, nay probable, that you may do well to visit them; and when you visit them, comfort them; carry them some good word, which may raise gladness in a heart stooping with heaviness. And, lastly: Render them all the assistance which their necessities may require. Assist them with advice; assist them by applying to others on their behalf; and if it be needful, bestow your alms upon them; “ Deal thy bread to the hungry;