The virtues which are common to superiors and inferiors, or to those who are in authority and in subjection.

The duties which are devolving upon all men, or the virtues which are here required of all the different grades and ranks of men, whether they be in authority or not, with the vices which are opposed to these virtues, are,

I. Universal Justice, which shows itself in obedience to all the laws pertaining to us in our respective callings. That this virtue is here enjoined is evident, inasmuch as those who are in authority should demand it from their subjects, and provoke them to such obedience by their own example; whilst those who are in subjection are commanded to yield obedience to all those commands which are just and proper.
The opposite of this universal justice includes, 1. Every neglect of such duties as just and wholesome laws require from everyone, whether he be a ruler or subject. 2. All obstinacy, disobedience and sedition. 3. Hypocrisy and eye-service.

II. Particular Distributive Justice, which is a virtue contributing to and preserving a just proportion in the distribution of offices, rewards and punishment; or it is a virtue giving to everyone that which rightfully belongs to him. That now which belongs to everyone is the office, the honor or reward which is suited to him, and for which he is adapted. “Render to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Rom. 13:7.) The opposite of this virtue includes error, want of judgment and partiality in distributing offices, or conferring honors, and in bestowing rewards.

III. Laboriousness, diligence and fidelity, which consists in correctly understanding those parts which properly and perpetually belong to every man’s calling in life, and in performing them according to the command of God cheerfully, constantly, diligently and with the attempt to discharge properly every known duty, omitting whatever is foreign to anyone’s appropriate calling, and whatever is unnecessary, with this chief design, that whatever is done may be pleasing to God, and contribute to the salvation of our fellow men. “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands as we commanded you.” “He that ruleth let him do it with cheerfulness.” “Be obedient as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.” (1. Thes. 4:11. Rom. 12:8. Eph. 6:6. Eccl. 9:10.) It is also proper that we should here remark, that this virtue does not merely consist in knowing what are the different parts of our calling and duty, but also in enquiring continually whether there be not something still required of us of which we are ignorant; for he who is ignorant of his duty and yet does not seek to know it, is guilty of neglecting his duty, inasmuch as his ignorance does not excuse him, being voluntary and coveted.

There is opposed to this virtue,
1. Negligence or slothfulness, which shows itself either in not endeavoring to find out what is duty, or in willingly omitting what is plainly required by our calling in life, or in discharging the duties of our respective callings unwillingly, only in part, and without becoming diligence.
2. A mere show of diligence, or dissembled assiduity, which consists in doing that which belongs to anyone’s calling in life, from selfish motives, or for the sake of our own praise and benefit.
3. Curiosity, which shows itself in meddling with, and attempting things which do not properly belong to anyone’s calling.

IV. Love to those who are joined to us by consanguinity, as parents, children and relatives: for when God command that parents should be honored, he also desires that they should be loved, and that as parents; and so, on the other hand, when he blesses persons with children, he designs that they should love them, and that not as strangers, but as children.

The opposite of this virtue includes:
1. Unnaturalness, which either hates, or does not cherish those who are allied to us by the ties of nature, or is not concerned for their safety.
2. Excessive indulgence, which shows itself either in winking at the sins and follies of our children and friends, injurious alike to themselves and others, on account of the love which we have towards them, or in gratifying them in things prohibited by God.

V. Gratitude, which is a virtue consisting of truth and justice, acknowledging from whom, what, and how great benefits we have received, and at the same time having a desire or will to perform in return such things and duties as are becoming and possible. “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” (Prov. 17:13.)

The opposite of this virtue includes:
1. Ingratitude, which either does not acknowledge, or does not profess the author and the greatness of the benefits received, or which has no desire to make suitable returns for the same.
2. Such returns or acknowledgments of benefits as are unlawful.

VI. Gravity, which is a virtue arising from a knowledge of our calling and rank in society, observes what is becoming and proper to the person, and maintains a constancy and evenness in the words, carriage, and actions of the life, that so we may preserve the authority and good report which we have, and not bring a disgrace upon our calling; for seeing that God desires that those placed in authority should be honored, he at the same time desires that they themselves should guard and maintain their own honor. Now glory, being that of which our own conscience and that of others approves, judging correctly, since it is a virtue necessary for the glory of God and the salvation of men, is greatly to be desired, when these ends are regarded. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” “A good name is better than precious ointment.” “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity and sincerity.” (Prov. 21:1. Ecc. 1:1. Gal. 6:4. Tit. 2:7.)

We may mention as opposed to this virtue,
1. Levity, which shows itself in a want of regard to what is becoming and of good report in the words, carriage and actions of the life, and which has no desire to retain a good name and opinion amongst men.
2. Haughtiness or ambition, which consists in being elated and filled with pride on account of the office and gifts which anyone possesses and holds, so as to despise and overlook others, and to aspire after still higher offices, and greater honor and applause from men, being actuated thereto merely by a desire to excel and be above others, and not to advance the glory of God and the welfare of our fellowmen.

VII. Modesty is a virtue closely allied to gravity which, from a knowledge of our own weakness, and from a consideration of the office and position which we occupy by divine appointment, maintains a consistency and propriety in the actions and deportment of the life, regardless of the opinions and remarks which men may make and entertain respecting us, with this design, that we do not arrogate to ourselves more than is becoming, or defraud others of the respect and honor due them; that we do not make a greater display in our apparel, walk, conversation and life, than is proper and needful; that we do not esteem ourselves more highly than others, or oppress them; but maintain a deportment according to our ability and strength, with an acknowledgment of God’s gifts in others, and of our, faults and imperfections. This and the former virtue are, as has just been remarked, closely allied; for gravity without being joined with modesty, soon degenerates into ambition and haughtiness. “For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Gal. 6:3.) Humility and modesty differ from each other in this, that modesty is directed towards men, and consists in acknowledging our own faults and the gifts of which others are possessed; whilst humility has respect to God.

The following vices are opposed to this virtue:

1. Immodesty, which transcends the bounds of propriety in the words, actions and deportment of the life, both as it respects ourselves, and those with whom we hold daily intercourse.
2. Arrogance, which in conceit and outward declaration takes to itself more than it really possesses, or admires its own gifts and attainments more than there is any necessity of doing, and so extols and boasts of them beyond measure.
3. A counterfeiting or mere show of modesty, which evinces itself in the admiration which anyone has of himself, whilst he, nevertheless, feigns to be backward in accepting of honors and offices, which he all the while desires, in order that he may advance his own praise and conceit of modesty.

VIII. Equity, which is a virtue that mitigates, in view of some just and probable cause, the rigor of strict justice in punishing and correcting the errors of others; and which endures with patience such defects as do not seriously injure and endanger the safety of our fellow-men, whether publicly or privately, and which studiously covers and corrects such vices whenever they are found in others. “Servants be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” (1 Pet. 2:18.) We may here also appropriately cite the example of the sons of Noah, as recorded in the ninth chapter of Genesis, and likewise the commandment of the apostle Paul, respecting the moderation and gentleness which parents should exercise towards their children in correcting them: “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” “Fathers provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” “Masters give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” (Eph. 6:4. Col. 3:21; 4:1.)

The opposite of this virtue embraces,
1. Immoderate rigor in censuring and reproving those faults which proceed for the most part from infirmity, without any serious injury, either to their own, or others safety.
2. Too great lenity, which shows itself in not punishing or reproving great and aggravated sins.
3. Flattery, which, for the sake of gaining popularity or advancing personal interests, praises that which ought not to be praised, or attributes more to a certain one than is becoming.