« הקודםהמשך »
THE Author of this Address calls himself your FRIEND, because he wishes you well, and would serve you to the utmost of his power. If he has not silver and gold, such as he has he freely gives. He has been taught himself, that there are truths more valuable than either; and he would fain teach you the same: For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth LIFE to them that have it: Eccl. vii. 12.
I have an easy access to many of those whom you serve; and can remind them of their duty privately, as well as from the pulpit : but some of their servants I have no opportunity of conversing with; and therefore have composed the present little Tract for your use.
A minister, who rightly regards his situation, feels an affection for every class of his people: as
the spiritual parent of a large family, he has a concern for every part of it; and, as the servant of Him who made himself the servant of all, he cannot overlook those who have a name so like
But the service I am endeavouring to render you, will very much depend upon your being willing to be served. There are minds in so unhappy a state, that nothing serious nor important can gain their attention. If they read at all, they either amuse themselves with trifles, or poison themselves with trash. Such will, probably, throw away this tract in contempt, if it should fall into their hands. Should it, however, fall into the hand of one more thoughtful, I will endeavour that he shall be repaid for looking it over.
I have been often encouraged, when, from the pulpit, I have met a servant's attentive eye; or when I have seen him listening to a profitable remark while waiting in the parlour. I have been pleased to meet them at a bookseller's, inquiring for some instructive publication; and have been ready to say upon such occasions, Happy is the man, whatever be his station, that getteth understanding, for she is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her : Prov. iii. 13, 18. .
The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men that can render a reason (Prov. xxvi. 16); but the man of understanding will think and listen. He will seriously consider the shortness of life,
and how stupid and brutish it is to waste it without improvement: much more so to sink it in folly, sensuality, and vice; and, instead of making provision for a happy immortality, only lay the ground for bitter repentance. Thinking persons,
say, cannot' but feel the weight of these considerations; and,'accordingly, they will listen to such hints as they meet with on the subject, and they will improve as they listen. In this temper and in this way, some of the first characters for usefulness and respectability have arisen from among servants; agreeably to that Scripture, A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren: Prov. xvii. 2.
Turn your mind, therefore, to such instruction as Providence shall please to afford you, in this or in any other way. It is from a small seed dropped into the ground, that the most useful and ornamental productions of the field and garden arise ; and a single hint has given rise to a train of thoughts, which has formed a new character among men.
And here let me add a caution: namely, That you should be careful not to slight any truth, because some weak person may happen to hold it, or some bad character may chance to defend it; or because it may be spoken to you in a wrong temper, or at an improper season. It is possible that these very hints may be put into your hand
in a way which tends to lessen their good effect : but recollect, that a guinea is exactly of the same value to you in whatever way it is presented. Regardless of the mind of the giver, you would say, “ Gold is gold.” Now, I only ask, that you would, in the same way, reflect that truth is truth! and that truth will serve you where gold cannot: Buy thou, therefore, the truth, and sell it not (Prov. xxiii. 23) on any account whatever. Stand by it, and it will stand by thee ; for it is great, and shall prevail.
THE SERVANT'S INTEREST.
An all-wise Providence has appointed different stations, and made them dependent on one another; so that the eye cannot say to the HAND, I 1 have no need of thee : 1 Cor. xii. 21. It has also made the happiness of each member to depend on the regular performance of its own particular office; so that the eye, while it directs the hand, shall, in return, receive protection from it. By this mutual dependence it is intended, that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another : 1 Cor. xii. 25.
Whatever, therefore, you meet with in this Tract, which treats of what you owe to the hap
piness of your employers, is by no means to be understood as if the payment would lessen your own stock of happiness. I mean to shew rather, that your interests are mutual; and that what promotes your Master's comfort, as truly in, creases your own. A fatherly regard to your true interest ought never to be forgotten, either by your Minister or Master? both are bound to remember, that they also have a Master in Heaven, who has commanded them to love their neighbour as themselves (Matt. xxii. 39); and to give unto their servants that which is just and equal : Col. iv. 1.
It is just and equal, then, that faithful service should meet with suitable protection and encouragement. Neither the laws of God nor man forbid your prudently seeking relief under want, excessive labour, or injuries of any kind. You are justified in quitting a place in which you cannot enjoy health, nor obtain reasonable support and comfort. But prudence requires you to be cautious how you change your place, merely for the sake of greater wages. Many a servant has sold health, comfort, and character, yea the safety also of body and soul, for a paltry consideration in money: and learned too late, that one place, with small wages, is often better, all things considered, than another with large.
Much less let a hasty word or momentary vexation throw you out of place. This is acting