« PreviousContinue »
CHAP. IV.–Vers. 1. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and
equal; knowing that ye also have a Masłer in heaven.
This verse, which is placed the first of this fourth Chapter, seems to me to be separated from the foregoing Chapter unadvisedly and without any just grounds. It is referred therefore to the preceding Chapter by Chrysostom, Aquinas, Hugo,* Illyricus,t Musculus, Zanchius, and others : and that it pertains to it, both the matter itself, which is plainly the same with the eight preceding verses, viz. the arrangement, proclaims; as well as the matter of the following verse, which is plainly new, and therefore could more properly be the beginning of a new Chapter. We shall explain this verse, then, as a portion of the for
* For notices of these three characters, the Reader will consult Vol. i. p. 3 and 111; 33; and 195 : or the Index for their respective names.
+ Illyricus (Mathias Flacius), a Lutheran Divine, born at Albano, in Istria, in 1520. He studied at Venice, Basil, and Tubingen, and made an open profession of the doctrines of the Reformation. This procured him the friendship of Luther and Melancthon, although he subsequently had a dispute with the latter on the subject of concession to the Romanists, which difference of opinion, as usual, produced considerable enmity. He then removed to Magdeburgh, where he wrote several works, and commenced the collection of an Ecclesiastical History, denominated « The Centuries of Magdeburgh.” In 1557 he became professor of Divinity and Hebrew at Jena, but gave up his chair in consequence of a quarrel coucerning Original Sin, with Strigelius, another distinguished Divine and Reformer, of Wittemberg. He then removed to Ratisbon, and lastly to Frank. fort, where he died in 1575. His principal works are, “ Varia Doctorum Piorumque Virorum de Corrupto Ecclesiæ Statu," 1557; “ Clavis Scripturæ,” 2 vols. folio ; “ Catalogus Testium Veritatis,” foliv.
# Musculus (WOLFGANG), a celebrated German Divine and Reformer, was the son of a Cooper, and was born at Dieuze upon Lorraine, in 1497. His parents could give him no education, and he went about begging from door to door by singing, until his talents attracting the notice of a Convent of Benedictines, they offered to receive him into their Order, which he ac
mer Chapter. Now it consists of two parts : In the former he sets forth to masters their duty; Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal. In the latter he adds a stimulus to perform the same; knowing that ye also. have a Niaster in heaven.
Masters.] Having explained the duty of servants, he. would advise masters likewise of their duty: because nothing is more pernicious than a tyrannical master; nothing is more easy than to abuse command. Whence Plato says, it is the best specimen of true justice, if any one abstain from wounding those whom he may easily injure. I subjoin his very words, being worthy of observation: Aládnaos • Φυσει και μη πλαστως σέβων την δίκην, μισών δε όντως το αδικον εν TOÚTOIS TWV åvIpwtwv ev oss åuta 'pádov ’adineīv. De legib. 6. Therefore, lest the Apostle should either seem to have neglected servants, or to have let masters go free of all law,
cordingly entered, and applying himself to study, he both made rapid progress and became a good preacher. About the year 1518, he embraced Lutheranism, which he supported with great zeal: this, as may be supposed, created him a great many enemies. However, nothing dismayed, he made an open profession of his Religion : but he was ere long compelled to flee, and took refuge at Strasburg in 1527. Here he soon afterwards pub. licly married; but having no provision whatever, he was obliged to send his wife to service in a Clergyman's family, and bind himself apprentice to a weaver, who shortly dismissed him on account of his religious principles. In 1531 he removed to Augsburg, where, on the expulsion of all the priests and monks in 1537, he was made minister of the church consecrated to the Holy Virgin, which he held until 1548, when Charles V. having entered the city, and re-establishing popery, Musculus found it necessary to retire lo Switzerland, where, in 1549, he was invited by the Magistrates of Berne, to the Professorship of Divinity. He died at Berne in 1563. Musculus was a man of great learning and application, and considerable master of the Greek and Hebrew languages. He trauslated the “ Comment of St Chry. sostom upon St. Paul's Epistles ;" the second Volume of the “ Works of St. Basil;" the “ Scholia of the same Father upon the Psalms;” the “ Ecclesiastical Histories of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Evagrius, and the History of Polybius." He also published “ Comments upon some parts of both the Old and New Testaments,” and was the author of some original works both in Latin and German, particularly his “ Loci Communes,” or “ Common Places ;" which, with other of his Tracts, were published in England during the reign of Elizabeth, in conjunction with the writings of the principal Foreign Reformers.
he bound them also by his precepts. Let us proceed to the precept itself: of which there are two members :
1. Give unto your servants that which is just.] Tò diralov, that which is just, in this place includes whatever is due to servants from legal obligation, or according to positive laws; and excludes whatever is contrary to the same. Aristotle, Econ. i. 5, lays down three things as necessary and due to servants, their work, their sustenance, their correction. We shall add also a fourth, viz. their wages, which is due to our servants, because they are not slaves, as they were formerly among the antients. It pertains therefore to the justice of masters to render all these things to their servants according to due measure ; it is the part of injustice, or at least of folly, if they deal otherwise with them. For instance, in enjoining work upon a servant, he observes justice who neither imposes immoderate labour, nor suffers him to grow stupid in ease and idleness : So in allowing them sustenance, he who neither withholds necessary or convenient food, nor suffers them to indulge gluttony or drunkenness : In applying correction, he who does not inflict punishment upon them with a cruelty exceeding the extent of the fault, nor yet allows them to commit any crime with impunity: In rewarding them, he who is neither so sparing, that they cannot thereby procure for themselves necessaries; nor so lavish, as to yield them matter for dissoluteness. The Greek Scholiast thus expresses the whole point; It is justice and equality to repay servants for their labour, and to supply them with an abundance of all those things necessary for them. The other branch of this precept follows:
2. Give unto your servants that which is equal.] In the Greek it is tnv iCÓTita, equality or equability. Which word we must not take in that sense, as if it were incumbent upon masters to give to their servants the same honour, the same obedience, which they exact from them. For well spake Plato, toss åvíoois tá ioa 'ávioa, &c. To give equal things to unequals is inequality.
This word lootns, equal, therefore, does not designate the labours themselves, or the duties of servants and masters, which are different and plainly the reverse : but it refers to the mind and the manner of acting; which in each ought to be equal by a certain proportionate analogy. For instance; Servants are commanded to obey their masters in singleness of heart and the fear of God: now masters give them that which is equal when they rule them piously and religiously. Servants are commanded to obey their masters from the heart and with good will: masters repay them for their services, when they rule their servants with mildness and a sort of paternal affection. Therefore, that we may bring the difference of these words just and equal in this place, under a brief view : That is called just which the law requires, or what is due to servants from legal obligation : that is called equal which Charity and Christian lenity requires, or what is due to them from moral obligation. Of this equity or equability, these are the especial duties :
1. To esteem a servant as a partaker of a like nature, and moreover of the same grace; not to look down upon them with a haughty spirit as some are wont to do. For although master and servant are words expressive of a distinct condition, yet man and man are names of the same nature. Whence that saying of Philo,* De spec. leg. For:
• Philo, surnamed Judæus, in order to distinguish him from several other persons of the same name, was a Jew of Alexandria, descended from a noble and sacerdotal family, and pre-eminent among his contemporaries for his talents, eloquence, and wisdom ; and equally as well versed in the doctrines of the Greek Philosophers, as in the peculiar tenets of his own people. The partiality which he felt for the Platonists, seems indeed to have caused much confusion in his mind, through his attempts to amalga. mate their philosophy with the Mosaic laws and institutions, and renders it difficult to decide how far his opinions preponderated in favour of either. It has been thought that he embraced Christianity before his death ; but the evidence for this assertion does not appear to be sufficient : for though living about our Saviour's time, and probably for some years after his cru. cifixion, yet there is no reason to believe that he ever visited Judea. Still, as he visited Rome, first in the reign of Caligula, to defend the cause of the Alexandrian Jews, who liad been charged with disaffection to the Ro. man sovereignty—and again in the time of the succeeding emperor, he might have learut something of the important events transacting in that
tune hath distinguished masters from servants; both, however, have one common nature. And to this St. Paul had respect when he directed Philemon to receive back Onesimus, then become a Christian, Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved. Philemon, 16.
2. So to act with servants in all things, that that should not be in force,- Let my will stand for a reason ; but let the master be ready to hearken to them and yield, as often as reason and truth shall require it. Job professes that he had rendered this equity to his servants; and, unless he had done so, would have been obnoxious to the Divine anger: If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my maid-serrant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up; and when he visiieth what shall I answer him? Job xxxi. 13, 14.
3. To have some regard to human infirmity, and to treat servants debilitated by disease or old age, or any other cause, mildly and compassionately ; to cherish and take care of them kindly and affectionately. On this account the Romans seem to me to have termed the master pater familias, the father of the family, because he ought to embrace all in his family with paternal care and love, as mutually confiding in his fidelity and protection.
4. To give faithful and deserving servants, even beyond the agreement for wages, certain rewards over and above : For when they, by fidelity and love towards their masters,
early period of the Christian epoch ; and it is remarkable that his writings contain many sentiments concerning the Logos, or Word, which bear so close a resemblance to those of the Apostle John, and others so allied to the language of St. Paul, as both to exhibit and illustrate the sense of the Hebrew, or at least of the Septuagint version of the Scriptures, and lay some ground for the idea of his possessing some insight into Christianity. The late Mr. Bryant has collected the passages of Philo concerning the Logos, in his work entitled, “ The Sentiments of Philo Judæus concerning the Hoyos, or Word of God ; together with large extracts from his writings, compared with the Scriptures on many other particular and essential Doctrines of the Christian Religion.” For further information on this interesting subject the Reader is referred to the more enlarged and minute de. tails given in Mr. Horne's “ Introduction to the Critical Study,” &c. vol. ii. edit. 5, pp. 303, 304. For further particulars of the Life of Philo, let bim consult Cave; Du Pin ; and Moreri.