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Submission to Divine Providence in the Death of Children Recommended and inforced, in a sermon preached at Northampton, on the death of a very amiable and hopeful child, about five years old   By: (1702-1751)

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Submission to Divine Providence in the Death of Children, recommended and inforced,

IN A

SERMON

PREACHED at

NORTHAMPTON ,

On the DEATH

Of a very amiable and hopeful CHILD, about Five Years old.

Published out of Compassion to mourning PARENTS.

By P. DODDRIDGE , D. D.

Neve Liturarum pudeat; qui viderit illas,

De Lachrymis factas sentiat esse meis. OVID.

The SECOND EDITION.

LONDON ,

Printed for R. HETT, at the Bible and Crown in the Poultry . MDCCXL.

THE PREFACE.

THE Discourse which I now offer to the Publick was drawn up on a very sorrowful Occasion; the Death of a most desirable Child, who was formed in such a Correspondence to my own Relish and Temper, as to be able to give me a Degree of Delight, and consequently of Distress, which I did not before think it possible I could have received from a little Creature who had not quite compleated her Fifth Year.

Since the Sermon was preached, it has pleased GOD to make the like Breaches on the Families of several of my Friends; and, with Regard to some of them, the Affliction hath been attended with Circumstances of yet sorer Aggravation. Tho' several of them are removed to a considerable Distance from me, and from each other I have born their Afflictions upon my Heart with cordial Sympathy; and it is with a particular Desire of serving them, that I have undertaken the sad Task of reviewing and transcribing these Papers; which may almost be called the Minutes of my own Sighs and Tears, over the poor Remains of my eldest and (of this Kind) dearest Hope, when they were not as yet buried out of my Sight.

They are, indeed, full of Affection, and to be sure some may think they are too full of it: But let them consider the Subject, and the Circumstances, and surely they will pardon it. I apprehend, I could not have treated such a Subject coldly, had I writ upon it many years ago, when I was untaught in the School of Affliction, and knew nothing of such a Calamity as this, but by Speculation or Report: How much less could I do it, when GOD had touched me in so tender a Part, and (to allude to a celebrated ancient Story,) called me out to appear on a publick Stage, as with an Urn in my Hand, which contained the Ashes of my own Child!

In such a sad Situation Parents, at least, will forgive the Tears of a Parent, and those Meltings of Soul which overflow in the following Pages. I have not attempted to run thro' the Common place of immoderate Grief, but have only selected a few obvious Thoughts which I found peculiarly suitable to myself; and, I bless GOD, I can truly say, they gave me a solid and substantial Relief, under a Shock of Sorrow, which would otherwise have broken my Spirits.

On my own Experience, therefore, I would recommend them to others, in the like Condition, And let me intreat my Friends and Fellow Sufferers to remember, that it is not a low Degree of Submission to the Divine Will, which is called for in the ensuing Discourse. It is comparatively an easy Thing to behave with external Decency, to refrain from bold Censures and outragious Complaints, or to speak in the outward Language of Resignation. But it is not, so easy to get rid of every repining Thought, and to forbear taking it, in some Degree at least, unkindly, that the GOD whom we love and serve, in whose Friendship we have long trusted and rejoiced, should act what, to Sense, seems so unfriendly a Part: That he should take away a Child; and if a Child, that Child; and if that Child, at that Age; and if at that Age, with this or that particular Circumstance, which seems the very Contrivance of Providence to add double Anguish to the Wound; and all this, when he could so easily have recalled it; when we know him to have done it for so many others; when we so earnestly desired it; when we sought it with such Importunity, and yet, as we imagine, with so much Submission too: That, notwithstanding all this; he should tear it away with an inexorable Hand, and leave us, it may be for a while, under the Load, without any extraordinary Comforts and Supports, to balance so grievous a Tryal... Continue reading book >>




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