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it in their power to give. But then on the other hand, it is but just to observe in favour of servants, that the little disgust we may have felt at their quitting our service, should by no means dispose us to give a too high colouring to their faults, or unnecessarily to obtrude on others any unfavourable idea of them. The dictates of charity are to be regarded as well as justice, and no hasty préjudice should induce us either to exaggerate their faults, or conceal their virtues.
Thus havé we pointed out to the heads of families, in various particulars, the line of conduct to be observed by them towards their servants in the management of their domestic concerns We proceed now,
SECONDLY, To consider the care they are to take of their servants' Morals.
To this subject some attention has been paid already: for such an influence have good morals on the civil concerns of life, that it is scarce possible to give persons prudential directions about the latter, without either directly or implicitly urging upon them the former.
When masters are discharging the du ties recommended under the former head, they are in effect teaching their servants many excellent lessons of morality, such as integrity, modesty, diligence, frugality, and the like. But it is possible that they may be acute, sensible, and active in the management of worldly business, and on these accounts merit the character of good servants, and yet be deficient in their morals. This therefore is a matter that deserves to be treated, as we have proposed, under a separate head. By good morals I mean a due regard to justice, truth, sobriety, benevolence, and other social virtues. Now,
1. It is the wisdom of masters to look well to the characters of their servants before they hire them.
This is a matter of such importance that people are pretty generally agreed in it. What man in his senses would entrust the guidance of his affairs to one void of all principle? would like to be served by a person whose word is not to be relied on ? or suffer his house to become an asylum for drunkards and debauchees? The greatest evils are to be apprehended from inattention to these matters. Your substance may be plundered, your house consumed, your children ruined, and yourselves
murdered. The character therefore of servants should be well looked into, and if they are even suspicious, it is a sufficient reason why we should not admit them under our roof. This shews of what consequence it is to people of this class, to be careful that they do not by any wilful misconduct forfeit their good name, or by any imprudence put it out of the power of those they serve to speak steadily to this point. Their character, as we observed just now, is their livelihood, they should therefore on no account trifle with it. And for the same reason, masters are in charity bound to be extremely cautious how they admit a doubt of their integrity, and to be as candid as they possibly can in the account they give of them to others. But it is possible that servants may be in the general honest and sober, and yet in some points of duty defective: indeed there are none without their faults. It is therefore,
2. The duty of masters to instruct them in the principles, and confirm them in the habits of virtue.
Servants should be taught the difference between good and evil; their obligations to do to others as they would have others do to them; the beauty of virtue, and the deformity of vice; the advantages which the former draws after it, and the miseries consequent upon the latter. But how are these truths to be conveyed to their minds ? In various ways. It will sometimes be right to address our discourse immediately to them on these matters. And when we do so, we should consult their capacities and tempers, endeavouring to make our instructions easy to their understandings, and the motives with which we enforce them interesting to their passions. The fit opportunity should be seized, and every aid that circumstances afford improved. Sometimes, and indeed frequently, knowledge of this kind may be insinuated to their minds by familiar discourse • at our table, and on other occasions, when they are waiting on
A trifling incident, a little story, a sudden remark, a passing observation, often conveys admonition to the heart for which it did not seem intended. This oblique way of teaching our servants is a very happy, and may prove a very effectual one. Books too upon moral subjects should be put into their hands : I do not mean plays, novels, and romances; but such plain, short, well writ treatises as are adapted to strike the mind with
horror at the idea of vice, and to allure the heart to the practice of virtue. But above all, the reading of the Bible should be urged upon them :--that sacred book which disseminates the nature and obligations of morality, in a manner infinitely more artless and commanding than any other book whatever. And it is an argument of prudence as well as benevolence in masters, to open the avenues to such instruction, by enabling those to read, who come totally rude and uninstructed into their service. To all which should be added a serious and regular attention to the duties of family and public worship.--The next thing we have to recommend, is,
3. The watching over the morals of our servants.
Instruction will avail nothing, if not reduced to practice: and the best means to attain this end is to convince them, by our strict attention to their behaviour, that as we have consecrated our habitation to virtue, so we are determined at all events it shall have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. As to gross immoralities, few cases of this sort arise, that will admit of such extenuation as to justify the continuing the delinquent in our service. Yet if satisfaction could be obtained of the genuineness of his repentance, and that the crime would not be repeated, a good master would be happy in giving him an opportunity of recovering his character. Philemon, at the instance of the apostle Paul, overlooked the offences of Onesimus, and cheerfully received him again into his service. In most cases, however, the experiment is dangerous. But it is not with gross immoralities we are here concerned: the object is to guard against a distant approach towards those evils. The indignation of a master should kindle at the very first expression of falsehood, injustice, lewdness, detraction, obstinacy, inhumanity, and the like vices. Severe and pointed reproofs should be given, and these failing, expulsion should follow; and so the spread of the infection be prevented. A froward heart, says David, shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look, and a proud heart, will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit, shall not dwell within my house : he that telleth lies, shall not tarry in my sight a.
On the contrary, virtuous dispositions in servants should be cherished, assisted, and rewarded. It will sometimes so happen, that circumstances of a peculiar kind will arise to try their sincerity, honour, and gratitude. And having nobly acquitted themselves on these occasions, they should not fail to receive such substantial tokens of respect, as may convince them that these fine feelings and exalted sentiments are common to their masters with them. Faults frankly acknowledged, without the little subterfuges of mean prevarication, should be as frankly forgiven. The utmost care should be taken to draw a line between the errors of a mistaken judgment, and those of a depraved will. And we should be infinitely more lavish in our commendations of one simple undisguised expression of an honest heart, than of the most striking effect of wit and genius.-But there is another matter we have to recommend to the heads of families, which is of as great consequence as any we have yet mentioned, and that is,
4. The setting their servants good examples.
Could we suppose a master ever so attentive to the morals of his servants, ever so severe in reprehending vice, and ever so profuse in his praise of virtue; if he were himself a bad man, it would have little effect. Inferiors are generally more disposed to copy after the pattern, than to pay attention to the instructions, of their superiors. And indeed, when the former of these contradicts the latter, it is not to be wondered that it loses all its authority. How is it imaginable that a servant should profit by the wholesome admonitions of a master, in whose countenance, language, and deportment, vice is every day held up to his view in its most hideous forms ? Is it to be expected that lessons of meekness, pronounced by lips accustomed to wrath and vior lence, should persuade ? Is it to be expected that cepsures on guile and dishonesty, should come with energy from a base and unprincipled heart? Is it to be expected that men should be deterred from intemperance and lewdness, by the remonstrances of those who live in a course of dissipation and criminal indulgence? Virtue, it is true, is no less amiable for its being reproached by their conduct, who would be understood to be its
a Psal. ci. 47.
friends. But then such masters must not wonder, that their servants regard their actions rather than their words, and by co pying after these repay them in their own coin for the affronts they thus offer to decency and common sense.
On the contrary, where virtuous instructions and virtuous characters are in perfect unison, they will scarce fail to produce the desired effect on the minds of servants. Awed by the authority of the former, and allured by the sweetness of the latter, they will find it difficult to resist the dictates of truth, honour, and decency. Reproofs will strike their consciences with double force, and counsels insinuate themselves to their hearts with
peculiar pleasure. They will be proud to imitate the virtues of their superiors, and dread the idea of drawing on themselves the censures of those, who are equally venerable and lovely in their eyes. And hence it commonly happens, though not always, that good masters have good servants; and people are generally disposed to form their opinion of the heads of families, by the behaviour of those who serve them. It now remains,
THIRDLY, To consider the attention which it is incumbent on masters to pay to the religious interests of their servants.
Religion is a due regard to the authority of God: and those cannot be called good morals which do not proceed from that principle. It is, however, possible, that men who have no proper regard to the divine authority, may yet be induced, by the fear of man and a concern for their worldly interests, to behave themselves in the general with integrity, sobriety, and decency. But it is religion and that only which will infallibly secure the good morals of servants: they who fear God cannot allow themselves to do a bad action. And this is a good reason why the heads of families should use their utmost endeavours to promote religion among their domestics. If you would be served with integrity, attention, and cheerfulness, look well to this point. This object gained, whatever little indiscretions your servants may be guilty of, you may be sure your substance will not be purloined, your affairs neglected, or your authority affronted.
But religion is a concern that affects the personal interests of servants in the highest degree their happiness both here and hereafter. A pious master therefore, separate from the consideration of the benefit that will accrue to his domestic concerns