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dividuals, and if some boast of pedigree, wealth, honour, a numerous offspring, or worldly prosperity, yet let David reckon up the epitome, the sum total of man's felicity, he will thus conclude, "happy is that people whose God is the Lord," Psal. cxliv. 12-15. Happy parents that bequeath such a legacy to their posterity, though they should leave them in poverty.
2. Next to that and as a means to enjoy God, is the promise of Jesus Christ, the mediator of the covenant. Isa. xlii. 6, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." It is true, God vouchsafed to the Jewish nation this privilege, that "of them as concerning the flesh Christ should come ;"* but they cannot monopolize this glorious gift,, for now in Christ Jesus, "we who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ ;" and poor Gentiles laying hold on the covenant, are become free denizens of all Jewish privileges that are essential to salvation, for "we are all one in Christ Jesus ;" and promises are "to us that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call," Acts ii. 39; even in Christ himself, "in whom all the promises of God are yea, and in him, Amen."|| Nor can any man have an interest in any one promise for himself or his seed, without an interest in Christ; there never was or can be any covenant between God and man since the fall, but through Christ; he then that hath Christ, hath something to plead for his children more than another hath; he only "is all and in all for ourselves and ours;§ and they shall hang on him all the glory of his Father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity,” Isa. xxii. 24. All believers are God's family, and by faith in prayer, they may freely hang upon him their offGal. iii. 28.
*Rom. ix. 5. || 2 Cor. i. 20.
+ Eph. ii. 13.
spring, that is, children, grand-children, the smallest and least of the vessels that are in their house, he will not reject them, but graciously receive them; himself will take infants into his arms, as himself being an infant, was taken into old Simeon's arms, and both old and
young are blessed by him. O happy parents that lay their surviving seed in so kind a bosom! they cannot miscarry that have Christ for their guardian.
3. Another legacy that parents may leave their children, are the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost, the third person of the blessed Trinity. Isa. xliv. 3, 4, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty. I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." There is no interest in God or Christ, but by the operation of the Spirit the Holy Ghost proceeding from Father and Son, teacheth believers all things, convinceth of sin, reneweth the will, begetteth faith, uniteth the soul to God, filleth the empty vessel with divine gifts, graces, influences, and comforts; all the good things of heaven are conveyed into the soul by our Lord's substitute; the Spirit assisteth, quickeneth, enlargeth, supporteth, and satisfieth; yes, saith the Christian, I have had much experience of the Spirit's help in my own soul, but what reason have I to hope for the like to my children? Look on the text again, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed:" it shall not come on them by drops, but be poured on them abundantly: they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, see the full promise in Joel ii. 28. accomplished, Acts ii. 17, 18, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy." It is true there is something in that promise arbitrary and extraordinary, * John xiv. 16, 26. xvi. 8, 13.
suited to that dispensation, but something there is also common, permanent, and essentially necessary to true christianity, which God makes good to believers and their seed in all ages. O happy children! that have "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion and communications of the Holy Ghost," 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
4. Children of believers are rightful heirs of all gospel privileges. I may in a sound sense say of them, as Paul of the Jewish church, Rom ix. 4, "Who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises." There are two sorts of privileges for them:
(1.) External, as the ordinances; they being born within the pale of the visible church, have the prayers of God's people for them. As the children of Abraham had "the sea! of circumcision, at eight days old;"* so children of believers are baptized, being disciples of Christ, and thus have God's sheep-mark set upon them betimes, and are taken into his peculiar protection; and growing up, and owning their baptismal covenant they enjoy,
(2.) Those essential privileges that accompany salvation, as reconciliation, adoption, justification, and are in a fair way to eternal salvation, for they lie in the road of free grace, under the droppings of the sanctuary, where the Spirit is wont to breathe the breath of spiritual life; if any be proper heirs of God's special care, and ordinances, surely it is the children of God's people, Psal. Ixix. 35, 36. "For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah;" who shall have the benefit of this salvation? He answers, "the seed also of his servants shall inherit it, and they that love * Rom. iv. 11. + Matt. xxviii. 19.
his name shall dwell therein." Parents have prayed for the church's deliverance, and their children shall reap the fruit of their prayers, so Psal. cii. 28, "The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee:" there is a double mercy here, first, in restoring ordinances, and then in vouchsafing this privilege to the children of believers. O what would a child of God give to know that his posterity should see better days? You have it in the promise, and may have it in the performance, if you reach out the hand of faith to receive it, for yourselves and yours.
5. Children of believing parents are converted to God by ordinances. Psal. cx. 3, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," that is, in dispensing powerful ordinances, "in the beauties of holiness," for holiness is full of glory, "from the womb of the morning," that is, from the beginning of Christ's entrance upon his kingdom, "thou hast the dew of thy youth," that is, those young people of the seed of the faithful that shall be born to the Messiah, resembling dew for quality and number, and the wonderful manner of generation. But a plainer text we have in Isa. xxix. 22, 23, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale," through the loss of good blood, or death of the pious; "but when he seeth his children the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name." O blessed sight! to behold God's image and workmanship in the souls of our children! this is far better than to behold our image upon them: God's picture is drawn by his own hand, with the pencil of his word and Spirit: the discovery of this will raise high monuments to the glory of free grace. "Lift up thine eyes," saith God, Isa. lx. 4, 5,
thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters
shall be nursed at thy side:" I know it means Gentile converts, and it is so much the more of concern to us. Another text saith, "They shall bring thy sons in their arms, ,"* with great care and tenderness, as nurses carry young infants in their bosoms that they be not hurt. O what a fine sight is it to see converts flocking to Christ, and into his church, "like doves to their windows or cotes!"† the Seventy translate it, "as doves with their young ones unto me." You may hope for your children's saving conversion, having those encouraging promises.
6. Pious persons' children may and shall be useful instruments of public good to the church of God, Isa. xlix. 17, "Thy children shall make haste," or as others render it, "thy builders:" and her children were her builders, as we read in Ezra and Nehemiah. That is a glorious day, when destroyers are gone, and the the church's children build Zion's temple and walls; but so it shall be, Isa. lviii. 12, "And they that shall be of thee," that is, thy children spiritual or natural, or both, "shall build the old waste places, thou shalt raise the foundation of many generations." Is not this worth something to have blessed instruments of reformation raised out of your loins, as magistrates or ministers? how did it gladden David's heart, that his son Solomon must build God a house, 2 Sam. vii. 13, "He shall build a house for my name." David echoes, verse 18, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto?" And what if a Zerubbabel or a Joshua proceed out of thy loins? who knows but some of thy posterity may be raised up as pious ministers to convert sinners to God? hope and pray, for all things are possible with God, and thou hast encouragement from the covenant.
* Isa. xlix. 22.
Isa. lx. 8.