London: Sam Smith, 1685. 8vo. [viii], 248 pp. FIRST EDITION. With an unrecorded title page, most likely an earlier issue than the more common one (see below). Full morocco in an antique style; paper somewhat browned, repairs to a few leaves, including tears on A3 and R4 (with loss of a few words). Item #14725
First edition of this noteworthy treatise describing the religious and moral obligations of those who become servants (referred to in the book as “choosing service”). The scope of the book is quite broad; the author starts with the responsibilities of the parents of children who know they will choose service as a livelihood. Those parents are to tend to the education of children who will choose service. Such children “must accustom themselves at home to the duties they must practice in service.” From there, we learn the qualifications which make a good servant, including fear of, and dependence upon God, contentment in their condition, love of their masters, humility, meekness and patience, faithfulness, industry and discretion. The author continues by treating the servant’s obligation to religion and the practice thereof, and a servant’s responsibilities toward the children of the Master, including the care of their morals, as well as toward strangers. Perhaps most interesting is the discussion of the relationship between servants, including those working for the same Master and those working for others.
Examples of prayers are provided, including, for example, for those just entering service, for fidelity to the Master and trust in God, and for performance of duties. A fascinating look into the mindset of the seventeenth century household employee.
Our copy appears to have a previously unrecorded title page. Though it begins the same, the text of the title page states: “The duty of servants, containing I. How parents ought to breed up their children, that they may be fit to be imployed and trusted. II. How servants may wisely chuse a service. III. How they are to behave themselves in it in discharging their duty towards God, their master and themselves, with prayers suited to each duty. To which is added a discourse of the sacrament, intended chiefly for servants.” All recorded copies state: The duty of servants : containing first, their preparation for and choice of a service, secondly, their duty in service. . . .”
Lucas (1648-1715), who lost his sight completely at about age 50, was a highly respected preacher as well as a prolific writer of philosophy and theology for the “non-professional.” His best known works were Practical Christianity (1677), An enquiry after happiness (1685), and The plain man’s guide to Heaven (1692).