Book: THE OBEDIENCE OF A CHRISTIAN MAN & How Christian Rulers Ought to Govern

LET Christian landlords be content with their rent and old customs; not raising the rent or fines, and bringing up new customs to oppress their tenants; neither letting two or three tenantries unto one man. Let them not take in their commons, neither make parks nor pastures of whole parishes: for God gave the earth to man to inhabit; and not unto sheep and wild deer. Be as fathers unto your tenants: yea, be unto them as Christ was unto us, and shew unto them all love and kindness. Whatsoever business is among them, be not partial, favoring one more than another. The complaints, quarrels, and strife that are among them, count diseases of sick people; and, as a merciful physician, heal them with wisdom and good counsel. Be pitiful and tender-hearted unto them, and let not one of thy tenants tear out another’s throat; but judge their causes indifferently, and compel them to make their ditches, hedges, gates, and ways. For even for such causes were ye made landlords; and for such causes paid men rent at the beginning. For if such an order were not, one should slay another, and all should go to waste. If thy tenant shall labor and toil all the year, to pay thee thy rent, and when he hath bestowed all his labor, his neighbors’ cattle shall devour his fruits; how tedious and bitter should his life be! See therefore that ye do your duties again; and suffer no man to do them wrong, save the king only. If he do wrong, then must they abide God’s judgment.