Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

a man giving up the world, by his trembling limbs, giving it up by his wasting strength, and clinging to it, with all the appetites of his heart; a man marked deeply by time, and outwardly fitted for Heaven, within all preparations for this life, and with thoughts busied about the mortal pleasures of sin ; to such a man, old age is indeed terrible, for it is a mark of the coming vengeance of God, the pains, and evils of the body, are to him signs that his eternal punishment is near at hand; that he is standing in the threshold to the place of torment: I am not endeavouring to prove that this old age is not terrible.

It is, indeed, the greatest of human terrors ; and though the threescore, and ten of years may first pass away, yet the knowledge that it must come at last, shoots across the horizon of life, and mingles the terror of God with the early pleaşures of youth.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

If it is the mere contiguity. to death, which makes old age

so 'terrible, find out, if you can, the mian who would spend his life over again. If your life has not been notoriously wicked, so that death becomes, to you the greatest of all evils, , put this question to your own heart. You shall be replaced in earliest infancy, you shall enjoy all the happiness which is said to be the privilege of that favored period; you shall re-taste again, all the tumultous pleasures of youth; you shall play over again, the game of ambition: If all this were offered, all this would be rejected; your disposition would be, to go on with the portion of life which remained; to pass over to something you did not know, in the hope of finding it better ; not to return to that, with the value of which you were already acquainted ; Why then is the proximity to death so terrible, if the possession of life is so little valuable? Why fear to die, if we do not wish to live ? Death viewed at a distance by one unprepared for it, from having lived long, is terrible ; but the natural feeling of the mind, in extreme old age, is to wish for death; to ask it of God as a boon, to speak of it as a release, and to ardently desire, what, in the beginning of life, is considered as the greatest of all evils.

all old nd of

" As the hart panteth for the water brooks,-even so longeth my soul for thee, oh God.”

It is in truth, this very proximity to death, which in a rightly-constituted, and christian mind, gives sometimes to old age, a superiority over all human conditions, because it brings with it a feeling which we find to be that which we have been seeking for, throughout the whole of existence. The feeling, which this near approach to God inspires, is that perfect happiness which I sought for, in pleasure, in power, in riches, in earthly affections, in meditation, and in knowledge. But there was bitterness in my pleasure, power, and wealth became familiar to me; in my earthly affections I deceived; my knowledge was pain, and doubt. I have found, in my an happiness which fills my heart, and satisfies my reason; I see, now, why all the pleasures of the earth have palled upon me, and the lawful object, for which my desires were reserved. Every remembrance of my decaying body brings me nearer to God; every earthly wish is extinguished; every injury forgiven; every passion sleeps : as

sleeps : as the outward perishes, the inward man lives in Christ, and is renewed day, by day.


old age,


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »