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The Aged Believer's Triumph.'
REV. WILLIAM ROMAINE.
Ir is appointed unto men once to die. The time is fixed by an immutable decree. The days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow: for it is soon cut off, and we flee away. If some be permitted to live longer, yet the infirmities of old age must arrive, bringing with them labour and sorrow, the forerunners of death. Circulation will become languid. The senses of the body will grow dull and heavy. The faculties of the mind will be impaired, and they will discover it by not remembering proper names.
In this decline of life believers are subject to the same infirmities with other men; they have no exemption from pain, or sickness, or death; but they have that which keeps up their spirits and makes them patient and joyful. The consolations of God are then most needed, and he has promised them, and * From "Triumph of Faith."
he is faithful: he never failed them who trusted in him. He has suited his promises to all the infirmities of age. He knows our frame perfectly, and has described it with an unerring pen (Eccles. xii.), that when we feel the signs of old age we may apply to to him for grace to profit by them. The symptoms there given are infallibly true and just, and are as so many monitors, warning the man that the vigour of life is declining, and that the body is returning to the earth from whence it came. Happy is he who takes this warning, and remembers his Creator in the days of his youth, before the wearisome days come of weakness and pain. He has fled to Jesus for refuge, and finds and experiences what he has engaged to do for his people when heart and flesh begin to fail them. Blessed be his grace for the abundant provision which he has made for their faith and patience he says to them, "I will be with you, I will never leave you nor forsake you: so that you may boldly say, The Lord is our helper, and we need not fear what the infirmities of age can do unto us." One of them, the Christian hero, thus encouraged himself in the Lord his God: "Thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust even from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb; thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels; my praise.
shall be continually of thee. I am a wonder unto many, but thou art my strong refuge." This was his trust; and God did not forsake him. He remembered his word unto his servant, whereon he had caused him to depend. There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto him. Oh what great encouragement have believers to follow the steps of his faith! For his God is their God, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, to young and old, who put their trust in him. His promise to the Israel of God cannot be broken. Thus he pledges his word of truth to them, giving them a warrant to pray unto him: "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise, and with thy honour all the day; cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." To this prayer the Lord inclined his ear, and vouchsafed this gracious answer: "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb and even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." These are some of his rich cordials for the aged, which he provided for them in his love, and he is sensibly touched with the feeling of their in
firmities in administering them; for he himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses. His compassions bind him to comfort and relieve his old disciples; and when they apply to him in time of need, he is ever present to grant them his promised help; yea, so suited to their case as to make them grow in grace as they grow in years. They bring forth fruit in their old age, the rich fruit of humility and the ripe fruit of thankfulness-fruit that endureth unto everlasting life.
We have a happy instance of this in God's goodness to an ancient believer who lived to be an hundred and seventy-five years old. He was the friend of God, who had blessed Abraham through life, and that in all things, and who even to hoary hairs loaded him with blessings. For God had promised him, "Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, thou shalt be buried in a good old age;" and the sacred historian, relating the fulfilling of the promise, says, "He gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people." His old age was good in body and soul. Whatever infirmities he had, they were intended for good, and actually did him good. He was a very cheerful, pleasant old man. The peace of his mind had a sweet influence upon his temper and beha
viour. It kept him from being fretful and peevish in his family. He was loving to his children and kind to his servants, God himself being witness. He was also happy in his last years; for he spent them in faith, and when they came to an end he died in peace; with his last breath he committed his spirit into the hands of him who had redeemed it, full of years; it is in the original one word-he was satisfied; so it is rendered, Psa. xvii. 15, "As for me I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." He was satisfied with what he had enjoyed of the favour and friend-. ship of his God; who had been his shield to defend him from all sins and enemies, and also had promised to be his exceeding great reward. This he obtained when he was gathered to his people, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, and to the most blissful communion of the Three-One Jehovah. All the children of faithful Abraham, treading in the steps of his faith, have the same God to deal with, who keepeth promise for ever. It is recorded of Isaac, the heir of the same promise with his father, that he died in the same faith an old man. He was tried with many infirmities, but we read of no complaints, though he was an hundred and eighty years of age. He expired in praise and thankfulness,