Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts…
The occasion is serious. National disaster seems imminent. What shall be done to turn away Divine anger? Let the people be summoned to meet in solemn assembly, and by fasts and prayers let them address themselves to the Divine compassion. And that it may be a truly national and popular act of religion, let no class, no sex, no age, be omitted from the summons, or exempted from the exercises of devotion and intercession. Thus ciders and children are, upon Divine authority, associated in holy services.
I. OLD AND YOUNG ARE ALIKE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE BOUNTY, ALIKE OBJECTS OF DIVINE CARE.
II. OLD AND YOUNG ARE ALIKE POSSESSED OF SPIRITUAL CAPACITIES AND FACULTIES. It is sometimes taken for granted that children, because of imperfect knowledge and undeveloped intellect, are incapable of any serious part in the religious exercises of the Church. But intelligence is relative. Is not the "grey barbarian lower than the Christian child"? Is not the full-grown man but a babe when compared with heavenly intelligences? Faith is often stronger and prayer is often more genuine in the child than in the adult.
III. OLD AND YOUNG ARE ALIKE NECESSARY TO THE COMPLETENESS OF SOCIAL LIFE. It has often and justly been said, that a community without children would be scarcely human. Providence has so ordered society that those of all ages should live together in mutual intercourse. And no religion can afford to leave out of sight those who are growing up to be the men and women of the next generation. It would indeed be unwise, even ruinous, to so adapt the language and the thoughts in prayer, praise, or meditation to the capacities of the young, as to estrange the mature and intellectual from the services of the Church. Yet there must be milk for babes, as well as meat for strong men. The admonition of the text should reach the ears especially of Christian ministers, "Gather the children." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.