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On the Death of Children

On the Death of Children

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY EDWARD IRVING


Sam. XII. 15-24.

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah* s wife hare unto David^ and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child,
BY EDWARD IRVING


Sam. XII. 15-24.

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah* s wife hare unto David^ and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child,

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 02, 2013
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ON THE DEATH OF CHILDREN.BY EDWARD IRVINGSam. XII. 15-24.And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the childthat Uriah* s wife hare unto David^ and it was very sick. Davidtherefore besought God for the child,BELIEVING, as it is written, that no one of Christ's mem-bers ought to suffer for himself, or to rejoice for himself,but for the sake of the whole body, which is the Church, Ihave endeavoured, by the grace of God, to set my own sor-rows to a side, and to address myself to the work of edifyingGod's people in that mysterious part of His providence underwhich so many of you are now, have been, or are yet to befellow-sufferers with myself; and to this end I have chosen, asthe subject of my discourse, this event in the history of David'ssufferings, upon which I would make a few remarks beforeproceeding to treat of the death of infants in general.This child whom the Lord struck was begotten in adul-tery, and was the innocent occasion of murder, and on theseaccounts it was that the Lord struck it ; — ^which is anotherinstance of the visitation of the sins of the parents upon thechildren, and a principal part of the mystery which I have tounfold. • I observe further, that this child, though conceivedin adultery, the occasion of murder, and the object of God'sstroke, was nevertheless taken into the habitations of theblessed dead, seeing the royal prophet and man after God'sown heart doth say of him, " I shall go to him;" which provethto us, that though in the present life the innocent infant maysuffer with and for its parents, in the life that is to come it isregarded by God as standing in itself alone; and that theDigitized by VjOOQ IC
 
368 MISCELLANEOUS DISCOURSES.most unfortunate of- infants in their birth and in their lifemay, after their death, pass at once into the most blessed of the saints of God. I observe, thirdly, that this most tender-hearted of parents, and most large-hearted of the prophets of God, having, no doubt, perfect knowledge of the controversywhich God had with him concerning this child, did yet ad-dress himself to appease the wrath of God by all manner of penitential acts and sorrowful expressions of his spirit by fast-ing and weeping, and lying all night upon the earth, andrefusing to be comforted by the elders of his house ; whichteacheth us the proper way of interceding with God whenHis hand is stretched out upon us or upon our children. Yet,nevertheless, when it is God's will to take. He will take, eventhough the man after His own heart should lie low beforeHim in sackcloth and ashes. And, finally, I observe upon theparticular case before us, the carriage of this most gifted pro-phet of God, but fallible man : after that the Lord's deed hadbeen declared unto him, he arose from the earth, and washedand anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came intothe house of the Lord and worshipped ; then he came to hisown house, and when he required they set bread before himand he did eat ; which holy example of resignation I considerto be no less instructive to us and acceptable to God, yea,ancf trying to self, than was the act of humiliation which pre-ceded itBut that you may understand more perfectly the propheti-cal mystery of this dark passage in the life of king David,and perceive how his fall was overruled to God's glory, andthe instruction of the Church, I ask' your heed to anotherobservation before entering upon the general subject of dis-course. The event in the history of David's family whichimmediately preceded his fall in the matter of Bathsheba wasthe cursing of his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, with bar-renness, because she had despised him in her heart when he
 
leaped and danced before the ark of God, upon its going upfrom the house of Obed-edom the Gittite to the tabernaclewhich he had prepared for it at Jerusalem. This sojourn of the ark for a season under the roof of a Gentile man, beforeit was placed in the high temple of king Solomon, is a typeDigitized by VjOOQ ICON THE DBA TH OF CHILDREN. 369of the Church of Christ being for a season preserved amongthe Gentiles, as Saul the anointed king, whom David wasanointed to supersede, is, from the time of David's anointing,a type of the Gentile kings who hold their government underChristThis example of David, who came up to the house of Godand worshipped after he had seen the purpose of God mademanifest to his house, doth, I feel, justify me this day instanding in my place amongst the worshippers of God andfulfilling my wonted offices as a minister of Christ Andthough it cost me much, I deem it both an act of pietytowards God and of carefulness over you, that I should thisday justify in your hearing that most mysterious of His wayswhich is shewn forth in the death of infants. In fulfillingwhich function of the ministerial calling, I shall first shew ingeneral the light which is thereby cast upon the purpose andwork of God ; and, secondly, the profit which is therebyderived to the present estate of the Church.The first great lesson which is taught unto believers bythe death of infants, yea, and forced in upon the mind of allmen, is to know the nature of our present fallen condition.Had there not been the death of infants before they wereconscious of good or ill, we might have believed that suffer-ing and death were the consequence of our personal sinful-

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