Page images

ily activity. If you cannot do much, do what

you can.

2. Keep your mind employed. Many aged men review their youthful studies. President Edwards reviewed his Euclid every year. Some begin new studies late in life, as Dr. Scott and Dr. Bogue. Read something with care every day, or cause it to be read to you. The history of the aged is full of warnings against idleness of mind and laziness of body. Your physician and pastor can both give you many reasons in favour of activity. The average length of life among retired merchants, who have given up all business, is said not to exceed two or three years. If you live in idleness, life will soon be a burden. Beware!

3. If you have property, retain exclusive control of enough to keep you from want. A dependent old age may be unavoidable, and, when it is, should be borne submissively. But it is a great trial. If men will treat you well without property, they will also if you have your own means. The reverse of this is not always true.

4. But beware of covetousness, that universal sin. "The love of money is the root of all evil." It is very apt to grow rapidly on the aged. Be ashamed to deny to those who have a right to expect

it, a share in your estate, when you can divide it. As far as you can, be your own almoner and executor.

5. Be always trying to do good by word and deed, by precept and example. Encourage the timid, warn the reckless, visit the poor, support humane and missionary institutions, teach the ignorant, be eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, make the widow's heart to sing for joy, and do whatever will bless men and honour God. "No man liveth to himself." "As you have opportunity, do good to all men."

6. Cultivate cheerfulness of temper. Try to be pleased with your lot and your generation. Be not a murmurer and complainer. A sour old man or woman is neither happy, nor useful, nor amiable. Remember, the birds sang, the lambs skipped, and the children laughed when you were young, and they always will do it. Find not fault needlessly. "Say not thou, What is the cause the former days were better than these? for thou inquirest not wisely con cerning this." Ever since Adam fell there have been wicked men and wicked deeds on earth. I exceedingly like a common saying of a pious old English bishop, "Serve God and be cheerful."

7. Yield not to tormenting despondency about the cause of Christ. The Church is safe. She is graven on the palms of her Redeemer's hands. The cause

[ocr errors]

of piety may decline in one place or at one time, but Christ's kingdom is gaining every year. The saints may lose a battle, but not the war. Christ loves the Church more than you do. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth." "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" "No weapon formed against Zion shall prosper." "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Rest assured that Christ "shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied."

8. Make yourself well acquainted with the promises of God, especially those which have a peculiar pertinency to you. If you are a widow, hear him saying, "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows is God in his holy habitation." "He relieveth the fatherless and widow." See the Concordance under the word "widow." Are you childless? Thus saith the Lord unto the [childless] "that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall

not be cut off." Are you poor? The promise is: "Thy bread and thy water are sure." "A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Are you wearied in the greatness of your way? "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." "The feeble among them shall be as David." And how was David? Though a stripling, he slew a bear and a lion, and the giant of Gath. Whatever be your condition or fears, here are the promises to all the aged pious: "They shall bring forth fruit in old age." "Even to your old age I am He, and even to hoar hairs I will carry you: I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry you and deliver you."

"What more could he say than to you he has said?"

Therefore set your hope and put your trust in God. Embrace the promises. They can never fail to those who rest upon them. Nothing but unbelief can annihilate them. Take firm hold of them, and your last days shall be your best days, and as the outward man waxes weaker the inward man shall be renewed day by day, and God himself shall be your God. "It is one of the best sights to see silver hairs adorned with golden virtues," yea, with graces more precious than gold. Have faith in God. Hope to the end.

9. Study to acquire and maintain clear views of the riches and freeness of Christ. He is a Prophet. "Learn of him." He is a Priest. Rely on his great sacrifice and intercession. His intercession is as precious as his blood. If you wish an assurance that you shall never fall into condemnation, here it is: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." Christ is a King. His "throne is for ever and ever." He has all power in heaven and in earth. He is the vine, ye are the branches. Because he lives you shall live also. He is the good Shepherd, and none is able to pluck his sheep out of his hand, nor his lambs out of his bosom. He is God, and therefore counts it not robbery to be equal with God. He is man, and therefore he is not ashamed to call us brethren. He was dead, and so he made expiation. He is alive for evermore, and so we shall never perish. If sin calls for a curse, the death of Christ calls louder for pardon. If he is the Author of our faith, he is also its Finisher. Study his character and work. You cannot know too much of him. He is the desire of all nations, the delight of the sons of men, God over all, blessed for ever.

10. Endeavour to glorify God in all your sorrows,

« PreviousContinue »