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Submission To Divine Providence In The Death Of Children by Philip Doddridge

4. LET those of us who are under the Rod, be very solicitous to improve it aright, that in the End it may indeed be well.

HEAR, my Brethren, my Friends and Fellow-Sufferers, hear and suffer the word of Exhortation[y]. Let us be much concerned, that we may not bear all the Smart of such an Affliction, and, through our own Folly, lose all that Benefit which might, otherwise, be a rich Equivalent. In Proportion to the Grievousness of the Stroke, should be our Care to attend to the Design of it. Let us, now GOD is calling us to Mourning and Lamentation, be searching and trying our Ways, that we may turn again unto the Lord[z]. Let us review the Conduct of our Lives, and the State and Tenour of our Affections, that we may observe what hath been deficient, and what irregular; that proper Remedies may be applied, and those important Lessons more thoroughly learnt, which I was mentioning under the former Branch of my Discourse. Let us pray, that through our Tears we may read our Duty, and that by the Heat of the Furnace we may be so melted, that our Dross may be purged away, and the Divine Image instamped on our Souls in brighter and fairer Characters. To sum up all in one Word, let us endeavour to set our Hearts more on that GOD, who is infinitely better to us than ten Children[a], who hath given us a Name better than that of Sons or of Daughters[b], and can abundantly supply the Place of all earthly Enjoyments with the rich Communications of his Grace: Nay, perhaps, we may add, who hath removed some Darling of our Hearts, lest to our infinite Detriment it should fill his Place there, and, by alienating us from his Love and Service, have a fatal Influence on our present Peace, and our future Happiness.

ETERNAL Glory, my Friends, is so great a Thing, and the compleat Love and Enjoyment of GOD so unutterably desirable, that it is well worth our while to bear the sharpest Sorrows, by which we may be more perfectly formed for it. We may even congratulate the Death of our Children, if it bring us nearer to our heavenly Father; and teach us, (instead of filling this Vacancy in our Heart with some new Vanity, which may shortly renew our Sorrows,) to consecrate the whole of it to him who alone deserves, and can alone answer the most intense Affection. Let us try what of this kind may be done. We are now going to the Table of the Lord[*], to that very Table where our Vows have often been sealed, where our Comforts have often been reigned, where our Isaac's have been conditionally sacrificed, and where we commemorate the real Sacrifice which GOD hath made even of his only begotten Son for us. May our other Sorrows be suspended, while we mourn for him whom we have pierced, as for an only Son, and are in Bitterness as for a First-born[c]. From his Blood Consolations spring up, which will flourish even on the Graves of our dear Children; and the Sweetness of that Cup which he there gives us, will temper the most distasteful Ingredients of the other. Our Houses are not so with GOD, as they once were, as we once expected they would have been, but he hath made with us an everlasting Covenant, and these are the Tokens of it. Blessed be his Name, we hold not the Mercies of that Covenant by so precarious a Tenure as the Life of any Creature. It is well ordered in all things and sure: May it be all our Salvation, and all our Desire[d]; and then it is but a little while, and all our Complaints will cease. GOD will wipe away these Tears from our Eyes[e], our peaceful and happy Spirits shall ere long meet with those of our Children which he hath taken to himself. Our Bodies shall sleep, and ere long also awake, and arise with theirs. Death, that inexorable Destroyer, shall be swallowed up in Victory[f], while we and ours surround the Throne with everlasting Hallelujahs, and own, with another Evidence than we can now perceive; with another Spirit than we can now express, that All was indeed well. Amen.


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