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ported by them in the present Age, but tranf, mitted to succeeding ones, by their pious Care of forming their Progeny to the Knowledge and the Love of public Good! The Prospect only of Childrens Children would have little Joy in it, without that of Peace upon Ifrael: without a reasonable Expectation of their contributing to the true Glory of the Family, from which they spring, and the true Happiness of the Nation, over which they are to preside. But when due Provision is made for this, both Sovereign and People may take up the Words of the Pfalmift: Like as the Arrows in the Hand of the Giant, even so are the
so are the young Children. Happy is the Man that hath bis Quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their Enemies in the Gatei.
But then, as ever we hope to see either our public or our private Happiness continue, we must be careful to remember,
III, That both depend on the Divine Benediction.
Except the Lord build the House, their Labour is but lost that build it : except the Lord i Pr. cxxvii. 5, 6.
keep the City, the Watchman waketh but in vain.-Children, and the Fruit of the Womb, are an Heritage and Gift that cometh of the Lord": These are the express Declarations of holy Writ : and both Reason and Experience humbly subscribe to them. It is not indeed possible for us in many Cases to discern particularly in what Manner the Providence of God conducts Things : but we may plainly discern in general, that as the whole Course of Nature is nothing else than the free Appointment, which he hath been pleased to make ; as the Motions of the inanimate World
proceed from those which he originally impressed upon it; and all the Thoughts and Actions of intelligent Beings are doubtless absolutely subject to the Influence of their Maker ; (since we see they are greatly subject, and often when they perceive it not, to that of their Fellowcreatures ;) it must be in his Power by various Ways, perhaps the more effectual for being unknown, to dispose of every Thing so, as may best answer his wise Purposes of Mercy or Correction. And as he evidently can do this, it is likewise evidently worthy of him to k Pl. cxxvii. 1, 2, 4.
do it; for the highest of his Titles is that of the moral Governor of the Universe : and therefore, we may firmly believe the Scripture afsuring us, that he doth it in Fact ; that he makes all Things work together for Good to them that love him', and curses the very Bleffingsof those who love him not.
Whenever then we find our Affairs going on to our Content, our Families flourishing, our Healths constant, our Hearts full of Ex ultation, and dictating Language to us like that of David, In my Prosperity I said, I shall never be removed, let us be sure also like him to add, Thou, Lord, of thy Goodness hadst made my Hill so strong". In the Hand of God it is, whether we shall have the Things that we wish for; whether, when we have them, they shall prove
Comforts or Afflictions, the Joy or the Grief of our Souls; whether lastly, if they are ever so dear to us, they shall remain with us, or be snatched from 'us : and therefore, it unspeakably concerns us all to interest Providence in our Behalf. They whom God favours most, are by no Means exempt from Sufferings : but he not only will always make religious Persons full Amends hereafter, but * Rom. viii. 28.
m Mal. ii. 2.
n Pf. xxx. 6." 4
ordinarily grant them Deliverance and Confolation here. Thus the Psalmist, immediately after his above-mentioned Triumph, had Cause to subjoin, Thou dids turn thy Face from me, and I was troubledo. But it follows, Then cried I unto thee, and gat me to my Lord right humbly P. Thou turnedft my Heaviness into Joy: thou bast put off my Sackcloth, and girded me with Gladness! Nor was this a singular Mercy to him, or confined to the more worldly Jewish Dispensation : but our blessed Redeemer hath given a general Promise to his Disciples, that they, who seek forft the Kingdom of God and bis Righteousness, shall have all Things needful added unto them'; and shall, even when molested with Perfecutions, receive now in this Time an hundred Fold of what they undergo, as well as in the World to come eternal Life'.
Perfecutions indeed, more or less, the Apostle hath told us, all shall suffer, that will live godly in Chrift': and partly on that very Account. But in these, they shall be enabled to take Pleafure u, even when they are the heaviest :
and usually they are very light, compared with the Calamities, which the wicked bring on their own Heads. The natural Tendency of Christian Virtues is to Happiness ; of Sin, to Misery : God hath appointed this Tendency, and he will make it effectual. If Nations, in the Midst of their Wealth and Tranquillity, will not shew they are sensible, that he bestows them, he will justly prove it by taking
And if those Persons, whom he hath raised to superior Honours, and favoured with Marks of distinguished Goodness, will ungratefully forget, by whose Power and for whose Service they were thus exalted and blessed, he can easily make them know by unexpected Judgements, that the most High ruleth in the Kingdom of Men", and doth according to bis Will in the Armies of Heaven, and amongst the Inhabitants of the Earth. But Princes and their People, joining together in thankful Obedience to the Laws of their great Benefactor, will be happy in themselves and each other, will shine as Lights in the Worlds and, to speak in the Language of the Prophet, upon all their Glory there shall be a Defence '. x Phil. ii. 15.