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culiarly required. If we are to feel for Stran, gers and Enemies, we cannot but feel more strongly for those, to whom Acquaintance and Neighbourhood, Relation and Friendship, common Laws and common Interests, unite us. It was never from the Extensiveness of their Benevolence, but the Narrowness of it, that Men have made the Public fuffer : and therefore the truer Christian any one is, the truer Patriot he will ever be. And especially if the Equity of the civil Constitution, under which he lives, remarkably secures whatever is valuable to Men at present; and the Purity of the Doctrines publicly taught, leads them the safest Way to eternal Bliss hereafter ; he will rejoice and be thankful from the Bottom of his Soul, that the Lot is fallen unto him in so fair a Ground“ : where he can fing of Mercy and Judgement", and go with the Multitude to the House of God, with the Voice of joy and Praise
But, though every pious Person will always consider the Happiness of his Country, as a very interesting Part of his own, yet the Degree in which he will consider it so, must greatly depend on the Relation to it, in which c Pf. xvi. 6. and Pf. ci. 1:
e Pf. xlii. 4.
he stands. And therefore they who are distinguished by the more important Relations, whose Office and Business consists in being the Ministers of God for Good', to Numbers, to Nations of their Fellow-creatures at once, they must have exalted Satisfaction in seeing the Pleasure of the Lord prosper in their Hands 8. Every Instance of national Felicity must warm their Breasts with singular Consolation : above 11, when they are conscious of its arising from their own Rightness of Mind, and Vigilance of Conduct : when they know they have deserved from the People under them that excellent Character of David: He fed them with a faithful and true Heart, and ruled them
prudently with all bis Power h.
II. The next Thing to be learnt from the Text is, that the Happiness, accruing to good Men from the flourishing State of their Country, is greatly increased by the Prospect, that their own Pofterity will continue to flourish with it.
The Desire of exerting our tenderest Affections, which are the conjugal and parental, and leaving Representatives of ourselves behind
f Rom. xiii. 4.
& Il. liii. 10.
* Pf. lxxviii. 73.
us, to preserve our Name, inherit our Substance, and carry on the Designs of Providence on Earth, is deeply rooted in our Frame: it hath always influenced the Conduct of Men, in Proportion as they have lived agreeably to the Simplicity of Nature : and they who have thought the absolute Restraint of this Inclination the Way to higher Degrees of Purity and spiritual Perfection, have entertained a Notion as evidently wrong, as the divine Constitution of Things is right. But though such Imaginations are groundless, preclude the Exercise of many Virtues, and weaken human Society: yet the Indulgence of irregular Liberties, however favourably their own or common Practice
induce Persons to think of them, produces Effects far more hurtful : overturns all good Order, destroys the Peace of Families, introduces endless Confusions and Diftresses, causes most afflicting Breaches of Faith, tempts to most execrable Barbarities, effaces gradually all moral Principles, and begets more Crimes and Sorrows, than almost any one Sin besides. The sacred Institution of Marriage therefore is of the utmost importance to the Innocence and the Happiness of Mankind. They who avoid it, as engaging them in Cares
and Troubles, distrust the Goodness of God, who hath made every Article of
Behaviour, on the Whole, our present Interest : and they who discourage it, as many do grievoully, though not professedly, by running into needless Expences and Refinements, pervert, for the Sake of Vanities and Follies, the plain Way, which Heaven hath marked out for public Strength and private Comfort.
Marriage lays the Ground-work of all those Kindreds and Affinities, which unite us together, by so many engaging Ties ; and from which proceed such numerous relative Duties, equally beneficial and delightful. Marriage allots to the several Members of the Society, distinct Parts of it for Objects of their peculiar Concern: and their Affection to these animates their Zeal for the Welfare of the Whole. Their Country seems nearer akin to them, for having Persons, whom they love as themselves, interested in what befalls it: they study its future Prosperity from their Attachment to those whom they shall leave behind them ; and triumph beforehand in the Prospect of Happiness to their Descendants, when they
Thall be no more. Indolence and Selfishness would incline Men, still much more powerfully than they do, to Behaviour of pernicious Consequence on many Occasions, were they influenced by personal Considerations only: but Regard to their Posterity enlarges their Views, gives them a Sympathy with distant Times, and excites them to prefer without Hesitation and with Pleasure, the lasting Benefit of others, though remote, to the greatest and dearest of their own short-lived Advantages
and Gratifications. Now if a Likelihood, merely that their Offspring shall partake in the general Felicity, is able to fill the Minds of Men with such Emotions; what transporting Reflections must they have, whose Descendants appear destined by the Stations of their Parents to be Authors of that Felicity in their Turn and Degree ! How strongly must such a Hope induce them to secure by good Example and Instruction this highest Honour and Blessedness to such as are to inherit their Dignities ! And how warm a Return of most affectionate Gratitude will they merit and receive from Mankind, if Virtue and Liberty shall not only be fup