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The death of a child

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Rippon, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I have had the book before me for at least a decade. It's The British Particular Baptists 1638-1910. One chapter deals with the life of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815。 It's written by Tom Nettles. He was married twice and fathered a total of 17. Most died very young. One story touched me. He has a daughter named Sarah who was born Dec. 7,1779. Once when she was eight months he had eye-contact with her as she laid in her cradle with a smile. He was awe-struck and picked her up and dedicated her to the Lord as the darling of his soul.

    She was a very obedient child and only "had to smack her once as Nettles relates.

    Here is what Fuller tells us of a conversation he had with his daughter in March of 1786.

    'What do you wish me to pray for, my dear?' said I. She answered, 'That God would bless me, and keep me, and save my soul.' 'Do you think then, that you are a sinner?' 'Yes, father.' Fearing lest she did not understand what she said, I asked her, 'What is sin, my dear?' She answered, 'Telling a story.' I comprehended this, and it went to my heart. 'What, then, (I said,) you remember, do you, my having corrected you once, for telling a story?' 'Yes, father.' 'And are you grieved for having so offended God?' 'Yes, father.' I asked her, if she did not try to pray herself. She answered, 'I sometimes try, but I do not know how to pray; I wish you would pray for me, till i can pray for myself.' As I continued to sit by her, she appeared much dejected. I asked her the reason. She said, 'I am afraid I should go to hell.' 'My dear, (said I,) who told you so?' 'Nobody, (said she,) but I know, if I do not pray to the Lord, I must go to hell.' I then went to prayer with her, with many tears.

    Sarah was getting progressively more ill. Fuller read to her from Revelation 7. He waned to cheer her, but the passage made her sad. He asked if she was afraid of going to heaven. She replied in the affirmative He asked why.

    'Because (said she, with a tone of grief that pierced me to the heart,) I have sinned against the Lord.' 'True, my dear, (said I,) you have sinned against the Lord; but the Lord is more ready to forgive you, if you are grieved for offending him, than I can be to forgive you, when you are grieved for offending me; and you know I am ready to do that.' I then told her of the great grace of God, and the love of Christ to sinners. I told her of his mercy in forgiving a poor, wicked thief, who, when he was dying, prayed to him to save his soul. At this she seemed cheered, but said nothing。

    He prayed fervently for her salvation and threw himself on the floor in grief knowing she was near death. He became sick in bed because of his exertions over her. And it was while he was sick she died on May 30 at six and a half years of age.

    He wrote some comments in his diary after her funeral:

    "I feel, in general now, a degree of calm resignation. Surely, there is solid reason to hope that she has not lived in vain; and she is but reared for God, it matters not when she died..."
     
  2. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    What an encouragement to pray faithfully for our children & grandchildren. We lost a little girl at 3 months - a healthy baby who simply died in her sleep.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    A very touching and interesting account. Thanks for calling attention to it.
    How do you like the book overall?
     
  4. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    Oh my gosh - Covenanter! I'm so sorry. :( I can't even begin to imagine. I think my son almost died when he was an infant just a few weeks old. He was in the bassinet next to my bed and for some reason, I woke up and put my hand on him and he was cold and not breathing. He was SO very still. I jumped up and shook him and nothing. I shook harder and still nothing. I picked him up and gave him a good pat on the back and he gasped and then started fussing. I didn't sleep again that night - it scared me so!
     
  5. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Wonderful that you were able to revive him, Ann. Thank the Lord. Babies are always very precious to us.

    We already had a baby boy, & we then had another 4 boys. That third month was always a very anxious time. We now have 13 grandchildren - six girls & 7 boys. We will soon be moving to be near a couple with a boy & 3 girls. So we will we trust be able to see the girls grow up - the youngest is 2 1/2.
     
  6. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I like it a lot. The account of Abraham Booth (1734-1806) is my favorite. I have identified with him for a long time.
    Of course John Rippon (1751-1825) I had borrowed for my moniker here. However I had thought of using Booth has a handle.

    I have other books about the life of Christmas Evans (1766-1838). He was an amazing character. And he lived in an exciting time with contemporaries who were mighty in the Word.

    Then the Haldane Brothers chapter was very good. Robert (1764-1842) wrote that wonderful commentary on Romans which was better than Hodge's. James (1768-1851) is not as well known. Both became Baptists after being raised in a non-Baptistic background.
     
  7. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    That volume I have is Vol. 2 at 271 pages. I would love to get volume 3 at 340 pages in the future. It's packed with chapters on people I'd love to read more about.

    B.A. Ramsbottom is someone I highly respect. He was a Gospel Standard preacher for decades and retired a few years ago. But he has wriiten some good and profitable books.

    He contributed three chapters: William Gadsby (1773-1844); John Kershaw (1792-1870) and J.C. Philpot (1802-1869).
    Gadsby and J.C. Philpot are better known and I'd like to learn more not only of them but the lesser-known Kershaw.

    Another figure that I need to get to know is Joseph Kinghorn (1766-1832).

    Alexander Carson (1776-1844) wrote well defending believers' baptism. He was known as the Johnathan Edwards of the 19th century.

    I suppose the most interesting for me is that of Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910). He was a masterful preacher. He stood against C.H. S. in the DownGrade Controversy unfortunately. He was friends with Gyspy Smith who had about the most shallow theology around --very curious about that friendship. He was an Arminian, but very sound otherwise.Even A.W. Pink valued him.
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the info on the book. Sounds like a lot of interesting biographies. Good to see that Haykin brought Ramsbotton in to write on the Gadsby, Philpot and Kershaw.
     
  9. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    From the same book referenced in the OP, there is a chapter devoted to Benjamin Francis (1734-1799) by Michael A.G. Haykin.

    "In 1765, his first wife and three of their children all died within the space of three months. He was married again a year later to Abigail Wallis. They had ten children, of whom they buried seven! In the midst of these deeply distressing circumstances, Francis drew comfort from the piety that a number of his dying children exhibited. For instance, when one of the children from his second marriage, Hester, was dying at the age of eleven in August, 1790, she told her mother: 'My soul is as full of joy as it can contain --the Lord is become my salvation -- the gates of heaven are open to me, and I shall soon be there.' Her last words to her father were :'I love you, but I love Christ more.' " (pgs.20,21)
     
  10. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    It is amazing just how close to death everyone was back then - EVERYONE experienced the death of loved ones so much more frequently. We have really sanitized death in recent years.

    It is also amazing how even the death of a child did not shake the faith of those who knew Christ. I guess because it was much more just a part of life than it is now but if a child dies today, often the parents are rocked off of their foundation. :(

    Finally, it is wonderful just how young these children were and the maturity of their faith. It certainly makes you think about how we treat children today!
     
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  11. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I fully agree with your post Annsni.

    Here's another example from the life of William Steadman (1764-1837)written by Sharon James from the same book I referenced in the OP:

    "His heavy workload was maintained even at times of acute personal distress. One grim eighteen month period (1811-1812) saw the death of his beloved first-born son, William, aged seventeen years, then his youngest son of seventeen months, then his wife, then the youngest remaining child. His second wife was prone to ill-health and associated depression. But there were family encouragements. Eventually his son Thomas entered the ministry, and three of his daughters married ministers." (p.171)
     
  12. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    From the book referenced in the OP is a chapter by George McGuinness about the Haldane brothers.

    James Haldane (1768-1851)had a great trial in 1802. His second child,"a darling daughter by the name of Catherine, was taken from him in death. His faith was challenged, but he felt the supporting grace of God and of his loyal friends.He was so moved by the loss of his child that he wrote a pamphlet on the subject for the support and guidance of the Lord's people --Early Instruction Recommended In A Narrative Of Catherine Haldane. The pamphlet reveals the desire in his soul for the salvation of boys and girls."

    From the time she could understand anything, Catherine was informed that she was to give an account of her thoughts, words and actions to God...No particular impression appeared to be made on Catherine's mind by the Word of God till she was five years of age. She had listened to some parts of Scripture with seeming attention, but never appeared to consider herself particularly interested in what she heard until one Sunday evening when her younger sister was asking the meaning of being born again. Catherine immediately replied, 'To get a new heart from God.' Her mother said she feared she did not know what a change of heart meant and spoke to her seriously. Catherine was much affected, and after she went to bed, she said to her maid, 'I have just been thinking of that verse, 'The soul that sinneth shall die.' From this time Catherine always seemed to be much more concerned about religion than formerly...

    In February 1801, Catherine's health began to decline . For a considerable time, her complaints seemed trifling and hardly interrupted her play or her ordinary occupations. In May, she went with us to Dumfries and whilst there became gradually worse....She spent more time in prayer than formerly, and took much pleasure in hymns and hearing of Jesus. She had long been accustomed to hear a chapter read to her after she was in bed. She would never allow this to be neglected, either before or after she became ill....

    One Lord's day, her mother, on going out, desired her to keep a Sunday school. When she returned, she heard Catherine praying along with the rest, that if were the Lord's will, he would restore her to health, if not, to prepare her for death, and take her to himself... Although we had pleasing evidences of her mind being impressed about eternity, we were anxious that she might be brought to speak freely and tell us of the present state of her mind. This led us to pray to our gracious Lord. He heard us and gave us every satisfaction we could have desired. In April, her mother took her into a room by herself, and asked her if she should pray with her. She told her she was dying and spoke to her of the love of Christ....

    After she went to bed, she desired her maid to read a hymn which she had heard sung a little time before. When she read these lines,

    He takes young children to his arms,
    And calls them heirs of heaven,

    she saw Catherine crying. Being asked why she cried, she said she was sorry for her sins. She said she would like to see papa. I went and spoke with her and prayed. She told me she loved Jesus Christ. From that time forward she enjoyed comfort of mind and never expressed fear of death....

    Though she was so ill, she came every morning, by her own desire, to family worship....The last words she uttered were to ask for the hymn, Jesus I love thy charming name.' On the fifth of June, having been in a kind of slumber, she fell asleep in Jesus....

    My reason for writing an account of her is that other little children may be led to love the Saviour. How happy she and I will be in the Day of God if we shall meet some children at the right hand of Jesus who were brought to him by reading the account of Catherine!

    (pgs. 231,232)
     
  13. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    Another wonderful book I own is Our Hymn Writers And Their Hymns by Faith Cook.

    In her chapter on Samuel Medley (1738-1799) she relates the following:

    When the pram in which his baby was sleeping accidentally began to roll down a steep street, the child was thrown out and instantly killed. The grieving father expressed his bewilderment and consolation in these words:

    God alone the refuge be,
    and comfort of my mind;
    too wise to be mistaken, he,
    too good to be unkind.

    Though I may not his goings see,
    nor all his footsteps find;
    too wise to be mistaken, he,
    too good to be unkind.
     
  14. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Ramsbottom also mentions this story in his book Sing Aloud in Jesus' Name, where he calls it a "tradition handed down through succeeding generations of Medley's congregation." Though he might not have a household name, Medley wrote some very good hymns!

    Gadsby's Selection titles it “The Wisdom and Goodness of God” with reference to Exodus 34. 6. He gives six stanzas, this way:

    1. God shall alone the refuge be,
    And comfort of my mind;
    Too wise to be mistaken, he,
    Too good to be unkind.

    2. In all his holy, sovereign will,
    He is, I daily find,
    Too wise to be mistaken,--still
    Too good to be unkind.

    3. When I the tempter’s rage endure
    ’Tis God supports my mind;
    Too wise to be mistaken, sure,
    Too good to be unkind.

    4. When sore afflictions on me lie,
    He is (though I am blind)
    Too wise to be mistaken, yea,
    Too good to be unkind.

    5. What though I can’t his goings see,
    Nor all his footsteps find;
    Too wise to be mistaken, he,
    Too good to be unkind.

    6. Hereafter he shall make me know,
    And I shall surely find,
    He was too wise to err, and O,
    Too good to be unkind.
     
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  15. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    In Faith Cook's book she devotes a chapter to Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

    In June 1850, while Horatius was away from home, he received a message telling of the sudden illness and death of a baby daughter....Describing the helpless anguish of parents who can only watch as some dearly-loved child slips away, Bonar wrote:

    All night we watched the ebbing life,
    as if its flight to stay;
    till as the dawn was coming up
    our last hope passed away.

    'Farewell,' with weeping hearts we said,
    'child of our love and care!'
    And then we ceased to kiss those lips,
    for Lucy was not there.

    But years are moving quickly past,
    and time will soon be o'er.
    Death shall be swallowed up of life
    on the immortal shore.
    __________________________________________________________________________________
    A further bereavement in the family many years later had a direct bearing on the lives of Horatius and Jane Bonar.The death of their son-in-law left their daughter and her five young children in a desperate situation.With a heart of compassion, the couple, now elderly themselves, invited the family to come
    and share their home. Surrounded once more by the chatter of young children Bonar saw in these circumstances a compensation from God for the five he and Jane had lost. Writing to a friend, he said, 'God took five of my children from this life some years ago; and he has given me an other five to bring up for him in my old age.'
     
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  16. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    That's a lovely hymn we have needed from time to time.

    We met Faith Cook - her daughter Esther Bennett was married to a local Pastor.
     
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