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fied age bespeaks christian solicitude and fervent prayer; because of their nearness to the judgment-the exceeding brevity of the remaining space for repentance, together with the accumulated difficulties of delayed repentance. On the other hand, with the mature, the ripe christian, rich in satisfying experience of God's grace and faithfulness, "when trembling on life's utmost verge," we can hardly refrain from the wish to exchange places; we are ready to say, "Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his." Such are some of the considerations why age deprecates abandonment by Him whose "favor is life, and whose loving-kindness is better than life itself."
The aged have also their peculiar and solemn responsibilities.
1. They should seek a confirmed assurance of reconciliation and peace with God. The Saviour himself has said, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." The characteristics of this "new birth" are genuine, unfeigned sorrow for sin, as " an evil and bitter thing," loathing it, and ourselves on account of it-a deep and abiding sense of our ill deserts, as transgressors of the holy law of God, a hope of salvation by grace through faith in Christ crucified, "Who gave himself for our sins, and was raised again for our justification ;" who is able and willing to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, who never yet did, and who never will cast away any that penitently seek him, since he saves most freely the chief of sinners, and by his blood cleanseth from all sin ;" who helps by his allsufficient grace all that come lowly as did the publican and the prodigal; who is "made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, to all who can say, "In my hand no price I bring; Simply to thy cross I cling." As a consequence of this hope, there is a predominant, all pervading desire, as the only possible return for "love so amazing, so divine," to live solely and forever to the Redeemer-to commend and praise the grace which draws, receives, and rescues from hell even at "the eleventh hour," the chastened, humbled and believing soul. An assurance of having experienced this change of heart arises from an advance in the strength and sincerity of the feelings alluded to, taken in connexion with a class of moral exercises denominated the "fruit of the Spirit;" love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. As it is written, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." There is also, "the witness of the Spirit with our spirits, that we are the children of God;" known chiefly by its influence in giving clearness to our spiritual vision, strength to our faith, ardor to our love, richness to our consolations, and confidence in anticipation of the judgment. "Hereby we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before him." The aged should diligently and prayerfully look for this evidence of their soul's renovation and sanctification, at the same time giving all diligence that they may be found of him in peace, by growing "in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
2. The aged should be patient and faithful unto the end. "Yet a Ettle while and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." But during this brief period, the aged" have need of patience." The preceding imperfect sketch, which has been given of the trials of age is no picture of the imagination. It hints at sober, solemn realities; so painfully and truly such, that many have been led in consequence of them, to prefer death to life. Ye, whose heads are frosted with age, whose strength withers daily at the touch of time, "ye have need of patience." Be aware of your temptations, your easily besetting sins. Labor and pray that you may submit yourselves meekly to your trials, numerous and painful though they may be, and thus glory in your infirmities. Comfort and sustain your hearts with those consolations which God has made ready to your hands in the gospel of his Son: "casting all your care on Him for he careth for you." Be assured there are those who sympathize with you in your trials, and sorrows, and who have you in daily remembrance at the mercy seat.
Be faithful also unto death. It is not yet time to rest. All danger is not yet past. Let the weapons of spiritual warfare be kept bright. Maintain a close walk with God. If thy once firm step now faltersthough on account of your trials, you are sometimes tempted to say with the patriarch Jacob, "all these things are against me,”—still keep your course to the goal and "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Lose not the reward of past sufferings and toil through present unfaithfulness and neglect. Spend much of your remaining time on earth in communion with God and in meditation upon his word. Imitate the Psalmist whose devotional writings have instructed your worship, and affected your hearts. "Evening and morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud." "Seven times in a day do I praise thee." If indeed you are the Lord's, you now go to his word, to his house, to the family altar and closet, to secure to your souls a perfected preparation for glory. Consider how much occasion you have for gratitude and praise. Through many years, you have been the object of God's tender care, and during all those years you have been daily loaded with his benefits. "The hoary head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness; and as you wear it, keep your eye constantly upon that one which God has in reversion for those that endure unto the end, and which cannot fade away.
3. Seek to be useful still to others. It is written, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be fat and flourishing to show that the Lord is upright." Say with David, "O God thou hast taught me from my youth and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also that I am old and grey-headed, forsake me not, until I have showed thy strength to this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." "Age should speak, and the multitude of years should teach wisdom.""
The patient, cheerful, active piety of the aged, may and does, speak impressively to the hearts of the young. Give them the valuable lessons which your long, and in many instances bitter experience has taught you. Let the bud and the opening flower in them, mature and perfect themselves amid the clusters of your ripe fruit, while they witness the power of religion to sustain and cheer you, the peace thereby of your last hours, and your triumphant ascent to glory. So shall your descending mantles fall upon young Elishas and Samuels, who shall rise up and call you blessed. Age has its advantages for moral purposes; and grey hairs may sow seed that shall spring and bear fruit unto everlasting life, long after they themselves have been hid in the grave. "The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance." And better than marble monuments-than "storied urn or animated bust," is the grateful remembrance, and more useful lives and example of those whom we have mediately blessed. It is for this, God lengthens out existence, and to the humblest effort, when made from a sincere desire to glorify him, he will add his blessing. And useful to the last, earthly existence will sweetly lapse into the life and service of
Pious age has also its consolations.
1. The wearisome, dangerous part of existence is well nigh finished forever. A few more conflicts and toils-a few more sighs and tears, disappointments and pains, and then comes the blessed, blissful moment that separates from infirmities and grief, from troubled thoughts and fears, from sin and sorrow forever; a moment, which, while it separates from all evil, unites also to all good, and puts the weary, wayworn pilgrim in possession of the long sought rest of heaven-the heir of God in everlasting possession of the heavenly inheritance. Yes! the glorious goal is in view. "Now is your salvation nearer than when you believed." A few more rising and setting suns, and time with you is no more. A few more pulsations, and thy heart, even thine, shall be still. How very near heaven may be-nay, how near it is! How soon it may-it will be possessed! Aged pilgrim, seest thou not in yon horizon the glimmering dawn of thine eternal day? Look up from earth, for see!" the morning cometh." Had ever the voice of God such distinctness? the heavenly song such sweetness? Seemed heaven ever so desirable before? thy God ever so near as now, when in the closet thy softest whisper reaches his ear? Panted thy spirit ever before with such strong desires "to depart and be with Christ?" while thy inmost soul turns imploringly to heaven with the prayer, "Even so come Lord Jesus, come quickly." The wing of cherub and seraph seem to waft celestial fragrance from the groves of paradise to animate and allure thee thither. These last days are then, thy best days, and best because the last. Thou wouldst not go back. Thou canst not, nay, wouldst not stand still. How cheering, consoling the thought, thou art so near thine eternal home!
2. Pious age has a rich experience of God's grace. Said one, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God-how great is
the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I awake I am still with thee." Perhaps the dew of heaven refreshed thy youth, and thou wast early satisfied with God's mercy. How long then, has thy God watched over thee? Against how many temptations has he fortified thee? and from how many perils has he rescued thee? In times of darkness, how often has he been thy light? Under what a load of care, and in the midst of how many and how deep trials he has sustained thee! Who can so speak of divine patience, faithfulness, tenderness, compassion, and mercy as thou? And if the review of thy life abases thee, does it not also magnify to thy soul's apprehension, God's rich grace? And this rich experience is the earnest, the pledge of ultimate fulness of joy. "The Lord will give grace and glory." In an assured hope of heaven, thou mayest cheerfully and confidently "wait all the days of thy appointed time, till thy change come." It is an "appointed time," and must therefore end-end soon. It is a change, not annihilation: a change and a glorious one, too, for thee. Thus, for thee, strong in faith, there are views of the promised land, like those granted to Moses from the top of Pisgah. The very "bitterness of death" seems to be past-the gloom that hung round the grave is fled. It now offers a safe, desirable, temporary lodgment for thy dust, and a convoy of ministering angels are ready to bear thee in triumph to glory. Or if thy heavenly Father sees it best yet a little while to prolong thy pilgrimage, remember the promise which is " yea and amen"- "As thy day is, so shall thy strength be.', "Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
In conclusion of the subject, I remark, that we are hereby solemnly admonished of our duty to the aged. God has seen fit in his wise and gracious providence, to spare to us these relics of former generations. They are in the midst of us--in Some of them are pafamilies. your rents who have done so much for you, and to whom from you, much, very much is due in return. For their toil, their counsels, their example, their prayers, are you their debtors! Soon they must go the way of all the earth. Yet a little while and they shall not be. You will miss them from their retired walks, from your tables, and from their quiet rooms. The sculptured stone will mark their silent resting place, and as the seasons alternate, the wintry blasts will sigh their requiem, or the green grass wave over their graves The remembrance of kindness shown to them, will be grateful to your hearts when they are no more. Their dependence, infirmities, their temporal necessities and spiritual interests, bespeak the manifestation towards them of a noble, selfsacrificing, filial piety. Let your intercourse with them be characterized by great respect, patience and tenderness, remembering that the cup which you put into their hands, your children may mete out to
And if they are christians, who can tell what blessings may descend and rest upon you and yours in answer to their prayers, when they shall be with God? Anticipate their wants-relieve, if possible, their necessities, and tenderly guard their second childhood, as they did you, when first your steps commenced threading the mazes of this mortal life. Especially, if in any case the aged are strangers to the consolations of religion, commend to them the gospel of God. Bear them on your hearts in prayer in the closet, at the family altar, and in the place of social prayer. It may be God will give them repentance unto life even at the eleventh hour. It may be they feel even now their need of mercy-are ready to ask, "What shall I do to be saved?" -that they would fain hope there is mercy for them, and yet are ready to despair of heaven. Thus they balance between hope and fear, life and death, heaven and hell. They have need of your most assiduous christian care. In the spirit of Him who will not "break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax," assure them that "with God all things are possible," who so magnifies his grace, though contrary to nature and providence, that a man is sometimes "born when he is old." And the hope of success may encourage them to seek the Lord, and find, and so live forever. And the conversion of one, may give rise to a train of influences that shall be as life from the dead in respect to others. And these aged ones, at length all gathered into the fold of Christ, shall be found in him, and numbered with the redeemed of God, in addition to that goodly number of pious ancestors now in glory-where may God in his rich mercy and grace bring them and us, when we shall have each fulfilled as an hireling our days, and faithfully served God in our generation. Amen.