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this fhall come Speedily upon them. And this is in
a proper Sense to visit the Iniquity of the Fathers upon tbe Children ; for though they are punished only for their own Sins, yet the Iniquities of their Fathers are the Reason why God makes them the publick Examples of his Justice ; that the Remarkableness and Şeverity of the Punishment may be a Warning to others. And therefore,
Secondly, I observe the Severity of these Punishments. For the Punishments of this Life are more properly Acts of Discipline than of Judgment. And therefore are many times not so much proportioned to the Nature of the Crime, as to the circumstances and Con
dition of the Person, and to the wise Ends of i Government; God thereby at once vindicating
his own Providence, and leaving the most fignal Remembrance of his Justice amongst Men. To understand this, we must observe, that the Scripture takes 'notice of a certain Measure of Iniquity, which is filling up from one Generation to another; till at last, it makes a Nation, or a Family ripe for Destruction and the Justice of God. And though those Persons, on whom the Weight of this final Vengeance falls, suffer "no more than their own personal Sins deserved; yet the Sins of former Generations, joined with their own concurrent Guilts, make it time for God to pour upon them the Severity of his Wrath. This Account our Saviour gives of the Destruction of
Mat. 23. Ferusalem. Wo unto you Scribes and Phari-
of the Prophets, and garnish the Sepulcbers of
And as the Posterity of the Wicked are thus punished by God, so that of the Righteous is rewarded by him for their Father's Sake; especially if they tread in their Steps, and imitate the Example of their Piety. For tho I doubt not, but God may shew Favour, and send Blessings unto an Evil Son for the Sake of a good Father ; yet the Promise is chiefly
made to the Righteous Seed of Righteous Men. So the Psalmist ; Blessed is the Man Ps. 112. 3 ihat feareth the Lord; bis Seed fall be mighty upon abe Earth the Generation of the Upright shall be blessed. Wealth and Riches shall be in bis Houfe ; and bis Righteousness endureth for ever. All good Men are not prosperous in this World; nor has God any where promised that they shall be so, no more than all Wicked Men are punished here. But as God visits the Iniquities of the Fathers upon the Children, so he Theweth Mercy unto the Posterity of them ihat fear him: And the more uninterrupted Successions there are of such Righteous Parents, and Righteous Children ; the more do they spread and propagate; they are like a Tree planted by the Waters, which bring-Pf. 1.3.4 eth fortb bis Fruit in due Seafon : His Leaf also fall not witber; and look, wbatsoever be doth, it fall prosper. What hath been difcoursed upon this Head, I shall now endeavour to bring Home by a more particular and practicable Application,
1. To Parents.
2. To Children.
1. As to Parents. And what an Obligation is this upon them-to strict Justice and Honefty in their Profeffions; and to leave to
their Children an Estate well. got ; otherwise, instead of a Blessing, they entail a Curse upon them. Most of that Labour and Toil which Men undergo in this World, is for the Sake of their Children
to provide for them while they live; to leave them in easy and happy Circumstances when they die': To raise and perpetuate a Family ; to fecure them as far as is possible from Contempt and Poverty. And though possibly, wicked Men may arrive at this, and the Glory of tbeir House be increased; though they may be successful in railing a plentiful Estate: Vet all this while they do but build upon the Sand. The Foundation is rotten, and they leave a very perishing Inheritance for their Children ; especially if it be raised by Injustice and Oppression ; by Sacrilege or Extortion ; by defrauding God of the Poor. Ah! in these Cases Vix gaudet tertius Hares; it feldom
goes lower than the next Heir ; a secret Moth ab.2.6.7*or a speedy Vengeance consumes it : Woe unto
bim that increaseth that which is not bis ; and to bim that ladeth himself witb thick Clay. Shall they not rise up suddenly that fall bite thee, and awake that fall vex thee; and thou shalt be for Booties unto them? However, though God may defer for a while; yet one time or other he will reckon with wicked Families, as well as wicked Men: And that will be a terrible Account, when the Wickedness of his Father. fall be bad in Remembrance,
and wben tbe. Sin of bis Mother fall not be
On the other Hand, what an Encourage ment is this to good Men ; that though by the Wife and Unsearchable Providence of God they are unfortunate in the World, yet by the Disposition of the same wise Providence, their Pofterity shall reap the Rewards of their Integrity and Virtue, That the little which the Righteous Man hatla Righteoully got, shall prove, a better, a more lasting and increasing Inheritance, than the great Riches of the Ungodly : That a liberal Charity, when Occasion offers (which fome think is to defraud their Children and that what is given to the Poor is quite loft) shall prove like Seed lown in the Earth, which repays all with a plentiful Harvest ; that having caft their Bread upon the Waters, they fall find it again after many Days,
Was this Do&rine firmly believed and wellconsidered, it would lay the greatest Obligation both upon bad and good Men, ,to take Care of the Virtuous and Religious Educa tion of their Children. Upon bad Men, because the only way they have to cut off the
Entail of Misery from the Families, and to & secure their Children from that very Gurse
which their own Sins have deserved, is to train them in the Ways of Virtue, and Piety.