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and, to have endeavoured, by all Means SE EM. possible, to augment the Number of their III. People, and rather chose to make their way City the Asylum of the worst of Men, than to want Inhabitants. To this End they framed so many honorary Laws, and granted so many and great Privileges to the Parents of many Children; and this Policy has, in some Measure, been taken up by a neighbouring Prince, as a Means to supply the Wants of those Muliitudes of People exhausted in his Wars, and forced to seek their Bread abroad for the Testimony of a good Conscience. From all which we may infer, that that Person, whom God has blessed with a numerous Of-Spring, is a public Benefactor to his Country, and repays with Interest those Advantages he has received from it ; that Life and Being he derived from his parents, which is the Basis and Foundation of all other Blessings, this he communicates to others, and, hereby, not only contracts that venerable Name of the Father of a Family, but also those inore sacred Titles of King and God to his Children and natural Subjects. And therefore,
2. A NUMEROUS Off-Spring is a valuable Blessing with respect to private Families, and that mutual Comfort and E 3
SERM. Support, which those, who came originally III. out of the same Loins, yield to one another,
Those Bonds must needs be inseparable, when those, who are in the same Interest, are united by natural Affection, and those Endearments must be wonderfully charming and delightful, when, like perfect Unisons, a Family is tuned to the same Key, and maintains the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Love.
3. A NUMEROUS Off-Spring is a valuable Bleffing with respect to the Parent of himself. The Jews had a particular Reason why they made the Birth of a Child the Occasion of so much Joy; for, being in continual Expectation of the promised Meffiah, every one had some Hopes that he might proceed out of his Loins ; for, though the Prophecies of his Milsion plainly enough foretold out of what Tribe and Family he should proceed, yet these were not clearly understood nor attended to by the common People : But the Reasons, which induce us Chriftians to rejoice at the Birth of Children, are, partly, that universal Law of Na. ture, which has implanted in every
sensitive Being a Desire to propagate its kind, and produce its Like, and hereby preserves every Species of Animals by a successive
Production of individual Beings ; and part-SERM. ly because, by the Birth of every Child III. of Christian Parents, the Number of God's Elect is increased, and a new Denizon is added to the heavenly Jerusalem. By this Means not only this World, but Heaven itself is peopled, and the Number of those blessed and happy Ones is augmented who rest not Day or Night, but are continually singing Hallelujahs and Hosanna's to the Highest.
And, as Children occasion much Joy by their Birth, so also, in their blooming Years, how much Pleasure doth it create in every good-natured Man's Breast, when he beholds these little Images of himself, and his own Picture drawn in Miniature ; when he receives their innocent Caresses, the natural Marks of an undesigning Love and Affection; when he contemplates undisguised Nature, in all their Actions, and discovers in their imperfect Words and Speeches, and childish Tricks, the first Dawnings of Reason: These are Entertainments so surprising, so pleasant and diverting, that a late pious and learned Divine prefers the Pleasure of this agreeable and harmless Conversation, before any other Diversion whatsoever ; And, in this Opinion, he was not fingu.
Mat. xix. 13, 14.
Serm. lar, for it is countenanced by our Blessed III. Saviour himself: For he commanded little
Children to be brcught unto him, he took
them up in his Arms and blessed them, Mar. x. and chid those who would have kept 13, 14. them from himn, giving this as his Reason
for so doing, that, of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, i. e. that those who desire to be the true Members of Christ's Church here, or do expect to be happy hereafter, must imitate that Simplicity and Innocency fo remarkable in Children, and transcribe that Sincerity and Teachableness of Dispo
sition which is natural to them; they nuit 1 Pet. ii. undergo the New-Birth, and, as new-born
Babes, defire the sincere Milk of the Word, if they will be Christ's Disciples,
Nor is the Pleasure and Advantage of their Conversation confined to their Child. hood; a Parent takes great Delight to see thefe Olive Branches placed round about his : Table, to behold their promising Aspects, and in them to read their future Fortunes ; he pleases himself with the Thoughts of their Proficiency in Learning, and Increase in Knowledge, and their growing Eminency in those Callings he designs them for ; and, by these grateful and pleasing Images, antedates his own Happiness.
When they arrive at the next Stage SERM. of Life, to be Men and Women, then III, to the Bonds of natural Affection he joins those of Friendship; he imparts the Sentiments of his Soul to them, and makes them the Partners of his Hopes and Fears, his Joys and Troubles : He increases his own Happiness
, by communicating it to them, and they alleviate his Troubles by bearing a Share in them; they are like a Quiver full of Arrows, to defend him against the Malice of his Enemies, and he, that is thus well guarded, will not be afraid to speak with his Enemies in the Pf. cxxvii. Gate. They are the Pledges of mutual 5. Love between their loving and indulgent Parents; and, when the Rays of tender Love and Affection meet together in this Center, they must needs twine and incorporate, and break out into a Flame. What though there may be some little Uneasinesses between Persons joined in the Yoke of Wedlock, though their Humours may not so exactly tally and agree, as to be perfectly of one Heart and of one Soul: Yet when they consider their tender Offspring, the common Objects of their Hopes and Fears, those Thoughts will calm the Roughness of their Passions, and render them sinooth and still,