Meditation for Sunday, July 4
“The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.” Psalm 102:28.
In what sense is “children” taken? Either the children of their flesh, or of their faith. Some say the children of the same faith with the godly teachers and servants of the Lord, begotten by them to God, as noting the perpetuity of the church, who shall in every age bring forth children to God. It is the comfort of God’s people to see a young brood growing up to continue his remembrance in the world, that when they die religion shall not die with them, nor the succession of the church be interrupted. This sense is not altogether incongruous; but rather I think the children of their body are here intended; it being a blessing often promised: see Ps. 103:17. “The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.”
“Shall continue; “”shall be established.” In what sense is it spoken? Some think only pro more faederis, according to the fashion of that covenant which the people of God were then under, when eternity was but more darkly revealed and shadowed out, either by long life, or the continuance of their name in their posterity, which was a kind of literal immortality. Clearly such a kind of regard is had, as appears by that which you find in Ps. 37:28. “The LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever.” How? since they die as others do: mark the antithesis, and that will explain it. “They are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.” They are preserved in their posterity. Children are but the parents multiplied, and the parent continued, it is nodosa aeternitas;when the father’s life is run out to the last, there is a knot tied, and the line is still continued by the child. I confess, temporal blessings, such as long life, and the promise of a happy posterity, are more visible in the eye of that dispensation of the covenant; but yet God still takes care for the children of his people, and many promises run that way that belong to the gospel-administration, and still God’s service is the surest way to establish a family, as sin is the ready way to root it out. And if it doth not always fall out accordingly, yet for the most part it doth; and we are no competent judges of God’s dispensations in this kind, because we see Providence by pieces, and have not the skill to set them together; but at the day of judgment, when the whole contexture of God’s dealings is laid before us we shall clearly understand how the children of his servants continue, and their seed is established. Thomas Manton.