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Barbarous custom prevailed once

even among the Greek nations, that whenever the parents of a child were unwilling to be troubled with the care of bringing him up, they took, and exposed him, as the phrase was; laid and left him, as soon as he was born, in some distant

solitary place, to die by famine, or be
torn in pieces by wild beasts.

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Sometimes it happened, that a traveller having lost his road, or a sportsman in pursuit of game, passed that way, took up the infant, and maintained him with his own. Which now of these two, to imitate a question of our Lord, think ye, was father to the exposed child? He surely that Shewed mercy on him. The other deserved not the name, nor can claim the rights of a parent : He was rather a murderer. And if the laws of his country protected him from punishment, and the customs of those times from shame; yet by no law certainly of reason or religion, can he ever demand duty from this son: but is to be excepted out of the number of those parents, concerning whom it is commanded, Honour thy father and thy mother.

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Power and prerogatives are for the


benefit of the posesor only in the second place. The good of those who are governed, the service of the public, is the principal thing intended. This authority of parents, among the rest, as it is so considerable, is charged with a proportionable load of obligations; and must be supported by benefits, or at least by kindness, which is a disposition to confer them.

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Indeed to do them justice, Parents are not commonly deficient in this disposition. They should love their children, no doubt; but they do so, and there is no occasion in general to remind them of it, I do not remember, that this duty is commanded any where in the whole compass of the Scriptures. Is it therefore unnecessary? God forbid. If any parent should feel in his heart, that he is with out fo natural an affection; he ought, (and this is the meaning of all other precepts to love any one,) to acquire and


cultivate it by all the ways he can, and especially by ačting as if he posessed it.

But Parents do not so often want kindness, as discretion and judgment in the direction of it.

Sometimes they let their love for their children become too strong. And then, as it is very painful to themselves; so it is not for that reason the more useful, or even acceptable to the person who is the object of it. But rather it is apt to do harm, and create disgust; and becomes in both these respects, like any other immoderate affeEtion, the cause of it's own disappointment.

A child certainly has a right to be beloved: and it seems prudent, as it is natural and delightful, to let him understand that he is so; to the end that his heart too may be touched, that he may

be influenced in his behaviour towards you


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