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he has been always kind; we are less sensible to his bounties, because we have never experienced any interruption of them for a single instant; they are like health, and strength, and youth; where custom blunts the edge of enjoyment, and the magnitude of the possession is only discovered by the misery of the loss. It is also a little in the genius of human nature, to think obligations burthensome, and to become careless of remuneration, when they are so great, that it is very difficult to discharge those obligations effectually, and to make that remuneration complete; thus, while smaller instances of friendship are repaid, with precision, and with pride, the greatest of all benefactors are sometimes treated with ingratitude from the very extent, and compass of their goodness.
Another circumstance, which blunts the sense of filial obligation is, that the kindness of parents, one of the most common of all virtues, appears so natural from every human being towards his offspring, that though it would be shocking to want it, it is considered as not meritorious to possess it. But observe, why this virtue
of parental kindness is common, because it is also common to receive a return for it in filial obedience ;-nature has laid the foundation; the expectation of reaping the sweets of parental kindness, justified by the feeling of all men, in all ages, has done much more. To deny the obligations which you owe to parents, because it is common in all parents to do good to their children, is to withhold the reward which principally makes that kindness so common; and to frustrate, as much as in you lies, this great commandment of Almighty God. For, consider to what the kindness of parents would soon be reduced, if it were generally claimed as a matter of right; and how soon, under the influence of compulsion, the most expanded benevolence would contract itself into the narrowest, and most inconsiderable limits.
But the affection of parents, it may be urged, is a feeling of nature; therefore they have no merit in obeying it; but is not every act of Christian righteousness founded on some feeling of our nature? Is compassion no virtue? Is courage, rightly
-the everlasting counsellor;-the prince of peace. At that hour, this heaven and earth will pass away, and all things melt with fervent heat;-but, in the wreck of worlds, no tittle of mercy shall perish, and the deeds of the just shall be recorded in the mind of God.