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fucceeding Age alfo, the Practice of Religion and Virtue hath appeared, to all prudent Inquirers, the likeliest and surest Way to avoid the Miseries of Life, and secure the Enjoyments of it. The first Advantage, which the Pfalmift promises to the pious, comprehends in general Health and Success in their Affairs. For thou shalt eat the Labour of thine Hands: happy fhalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. The next is a particular Bleffing of the nearest Concern; the Poffeffion of domeftic and conjugal Felicity, in the Midst of a large and well ordered Family. Thy Wife Shall be as a fruitful Vine by the Sides of thine House: thy Children like Olive Plants round about thy Table. For fuch Plants would foon afford both an agreeable Shelter to thofe who feast under them in the open Air, as the Eastern Manner was, and a confiderable Profit to the Owners of them. Delight, Security, and Plenty at Home, being usually the principal Objects of Defire, the Pfalmift lays an emphatical Stress on them, by adding, Behold, thus fhall the Man be blessed, that feareth the Lord. But still, as good Perfons can never throughly relish their own private Welfare, if the Community fuffers at the fame Time, or Calamities are likely to befall
befall it foon, an Affurance is given them in the last Place, that their exemplary Obedience to the Laws of God will, through his Mercy, contribute to their being Witnesses of the Profperity, both of their Country and their Defcendants during a long Course of Years: The Lord fhall bless thee out of Zion, and thou Shalt fee the Good of Jerufalem all the Days of thy Life. Yea, thou shalt fee thy Childrens Children, and Peace upon Ifrael: in which concluding Part of this most pleasing View even of the present Condition of religious and virtuous Perfons, we have it fignified to us,
I. That a large Portion of their Happinefs confifts in the flourishing State of their Country.
II. That this Happiness is greatly increased by a Prospect, that their own Pofterity will continue to flourish with it.
III. That both thefe Things depend on, and are to be expected from, the divine Benediction.
I. That a large Portion of their Happiness confifts in the flourishing State of their Country. Every Thing hath an Influence on our EnVot. V. T joyments
joyments, in Proportion to the Share which it hath in our Affections. And Affection to the Public never fails to be remarkably ftrong in worthy Breafts. The complete Character indeed of social Virtue, if confidered in Theory, is good Will towards all Men. And no Concern for a Part deferves Praife, if it be inconfiftent with Benevolence to the Whole. But the Whole, even of this Earth, is an Object so vast, that few, if any, can preserve in their Minds a fixed Regard to it, or entertain the fmallest Hope of doing it Service. Therefore. Mankind is advantageously divided into many particular Societies. And a Zeal in the Members of each for the Benefit of their own deferves, not only to be encouraged as a moft ufeful Quality, but honoured, as a most laudable one. It shews a Rightness and Greatness of Mind, capable of being affected by a common Interest: it fhews the most amiable of Virtues, Love, towards a large Part of our Fellow-creatures, and implies Nothing contrary towards the reft. For the real Good of every People in the World is compatible with the real Good of every other. To rule and to opprefs is no Good to any: and Peace and Liberty and friendly Intercourfe for mutual Con
venience all the Nations of the Earth may enjoy at once. The Happiness of Individuals, (we experience it) depends, not on rifing above others, but on being eafy and well within themselves, and reasonably fecure of continuing fo. In like Manner the Happiness of Kingdoms and States depends, not on extended Dominion or Superfluity of Wealth, (whence often proceeds every Kind of Evil) but on inward good Order and outward Safety. These Things we may and must rejoice to see our Country poffefs: and these are the only Things, which the Love of it requires us to have at Heart.
This Virtue indeed, as well as others, hath been frequently misunderstood: and false Appearances of it unhappily pursued. Yet even then fo much Rightness of Intention towards their own Community was mixed in the Minds of Men with wrong Behaviour towards the Nations round them, that their Injustice, though monstrous, hath been always confidered with Indulgence, nay often admired as Heroism. And the only People, too feverely cenfured on this Head, hath been the Jewish whose very Law some have charged with teaching ill Will to the rest of the World, though it hath T 2
more Precepts of Compaffion and Tenderness towards them, than perhaps any other. They were indeed commanded to fet out with extirpating the Canaanites, and planting themfelves in their Land. But well might Heaven decree, after a Forbearance of feveral Ages, the Deftruction of these Wretches, abandoned at once to the most unnatural Lufts, and the most shocking Barbarities; and (which made their Recovery hopeless) both of them practifed, as Acts of their Religion. Nor could the Jews be more ftrongly warned against committing fuch Enormities, than by being appointed to punish them; as God may certainly punish, either by his own Hand, or by whom he will. But with all Mankind ever after, they were to live in Peace: only avoiding Intimacies likely to corrupt them, and extinguish that Profeffion of Faith in the one true God, which they were defigned to preserve for the general Benefit. Accordingly they were, when free, as good Neighbours, and when conquered, as good Subjects, as other Men; till heathen Perfecution provoked them to hate even thofe Heathens, who were no Perfecutors and then it was Time for our Saviour to teach them, not the Love of their Country, (for