On a great number of children

In describing Job’s great blessings in the form of children, Joseph Caryl waxes eloquent on the blessings of children:

“To have many children is a great blessing, and the more children the greater the blessing. Some think themselves blessed, if they may have one or two children; one to inherit their estates, one or two to delight themselves in, to play with, or to bear their name; but if they come to a number, to a great number, then they think themselves exceedingly burdened, they they are troubles. When God casts up the estate of a blessed man in outward things, he saith not only that he hath a child, that he is not barren, but that he hath many children, that he hath his quiver full of such arrows, as the expression is, Psalm 127:5 and that is made the blessedness of a man there, ‘Happy is the man (saith he) that hath his quiver full of them,’ that hath many arrows, such are children of the youth, Verse 4. There are some rich and covetous men, that are in this point beyond others rich in folly. You shall hear them pride themselves, that they have no children, or but few; this they conceive sets them off in the opinion of the world for the richer men, whereas one child is more riches than all the things that are in the world. And we know it is an ordinary thing (though indeed it is a very sinful thing) to say, ’tis true such an one is a rich man, he hath a fair estate, but he hath a great charge, a great many children,’ as if that did take-off from his riches, or make him less happy: as if he were the poorer, because he hath a larger share of that ancient first blessing upon man, ‘Be Fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth.'” This is from Volume 1, pp 34-35 of his Job commentary.

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