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tender parent, unwearied in His atten: for us, from accident and sickness, tion. Is it a time of diminished com- from the burden of sin and the onset forts? One great comfort is still left, of temptation! How marvellous have all the more soothing when others are been His patience with us and His gone. Is the old man lonely, like the providential care! He will preserve last leaf which the storm has left us in old age, and deliver us from clinging to the tree? The life-long death. To the Christian pilgrim old Friend still remains, “when other age will be a Beulah land whence he helpers fail and comforts flee." And can descry the shining glories of the the result is that the aged believer is heavenly city. often a “grand old man” still bringing III. THE ARGUMENT BY WHICH GOD forth fruit, counselling others from his ENCOURAGES US TO EXPECT HIS CONripe experience, cheered by happy TINUED CARE. “I have made, and I memories and glowing hopes, not will bear.” As the Creator of our frowning on the happiness of others, bodies and the Father of our spirits, contented, trustful, loving, kind. God acknowledges His obligation to
guide and care for us.
Does an “On he moves to meet his latter end,
earthly father love his child, and shall Angels around befriending virtue's friend : Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,
not the Universal Parent care for the While resignation gently slopes the way.
children whom His hand hath formed ? And, all his prospects brightening to the The argument becomes stronger when last,
addressed to those whom God has His heaven commencea ere the world be
created anew in Christ (Ps. lvi. 13; past.” -Goldsmith cxxxviii, 8; Phil
. i. 6). Behold, then,
how gracious is our God! Not only II. THE NATURE OF THE CARE does de assure
us of His tende WHICH GOD EXERCISES OVER US, ex- support all through life, but He also pressed in the words "
carry,” “ bear,” condescends to give us a strong reason deliver,” which stand in contrast to for counting upon it. what is said (vers. 1, 2) of the idol- In conclusion-1. On this promise God gods of the Chaldeans. Idolaters rests His claim to our undivided trust. carry their gods, but our God carries If He engages to do all this, ought we
Images are borne about in proces- not to give Him the entire confidence sion, or are packed up and laid on of our hearts, abandoning every refuge beasts of burden--a withering ex- of lies? There is everything to invite posure of the folly of idol-worship our firm reliance (2 Tim. i. 12, iv. 18). (ver. 7). The same may be said of 2. There is a call here for gratitude. creature confidences. Earthly posses- God has brought some of you well on sions, instead of a help, often become in your journey to old age, and will a burden and a snare.
Trust in man
you not acknowledge His goodness! is often met by faithlessness. Sinful and you who have reached old age, pleasure proves a clog and a hindrance. are you not thankful for the mercies Unable to support or deliver, these of the past? 3. The subject inspires gods become burdens, drays, encum- us with hope. At whatever stage we brances which must be supported. stand in the pilgrimage of life, here is
But these words express the char- à voice of encouragement.-William acter of God's care for us. He is both Guthrie, M.A. father and mother to us (Ps. ciii. 13; Isa. lxvi, 13; Ps. xxvii. 10). Expressive and tender though the image Old age most wish to attain, but is, it does not fully exhibit His affec- those who reach it are generally distion. Not only does He nurse us in posed to complain about it. Very infancy and childhood, but even to various are the circumstances and feel. old age (Ps. xlviii. 14).
ings in this period of life, but, with all What deliverances, too, He works who attain it, it is the time when their
“strength faileth ;” and with numbers of your present circunstances. 1. it is a time of gloom and sadness, of Daily faniiliarise yourself to the Jabour and sorrow.
Caleb could say,
thought of your approaching end. 2. “Now, lo ! I am fourscore,” &c. But Endeavour in the midst of
your trials how few can adopt this language ! to cultivate a thankful disposition.
I. Old age has its peculiar afilic- 3. Guard against the temptations intions. 1. Physical deterioration (Ecc. cident to your con lition. 4. Earnestly xii. 1, &c.) 2. It is usually embittered seek after an increasing meetness for by the recollection of many distressing future and eternal glory. bereavements. 3. How utterly for- III. Old age, when connected with saken and destitute are some of the piety, admits of many consolations. aged! 4. Poverty is a frequent ac- Consider-1. That there is nothing companiment of old age.--Such a ter- peculiar in the afflictions which you mination of human life, when viewed endure, or which need prevent the apart from religion, is cheerless and enjoyment of internal peace and commelancholy. Religion, the best com- fort. panion of our yonth, is the only effec- 2. If old age has its afflictions, it tual support of the rigod.
has also its immunities. If the circle II. Old age has its peculiar duties. of your enjoyment is contracted, you The foundation must be laid in those have less to ensnare your affections, great principles of religion,"repentance and draw you away from God, &c. towards God, and faith," &c.
3. You have the promise of effectual then you cannot possess a Christian support and of complete deliverance. character, nor can you experience the 4. The nearness of salvation should supports and consolations connected reconcile you to affliction and death. with it. Have you repented, &c. ? If 5. How blessed is your condition you have received the remission of sins, contrasted with that of the aged &c., let your mind be directed to those transgressor !—T. H. Walker: Comduties which arise from the peculiarity panion for the Afflicted, pp. 309-335.
THE GOD OF THE AGED.
xlvi. 4. Even to your old age I am He, &c. I. The doctrine of the text I hold Had God changed, we should needto be the constancy of God's love, its (1.) A new Bible. But the Bible which perpetuity, and its unchangeable nature. the child readeth is the Bible of God declares that He is not simply the grey head. (2.) A new form of the God of the young saint or the worship. middle-aged saint, but that He is the That God is still unchanged, we God of the saints in all their ages learn from the sweet experience of all the from the cradle to the tomb.
saints. They testify that the God of to old age I am He;" or, as Lowth their youth is the God of their later beautifully and more properly trans- years. They put their trust in Him, lates it, “Even to old age
because they have not yet marked a same, and even to hoary hairs will I single alteration in Him. carry you."
I am the
2. Not only is God the same in His 1. That God Himself is unchanged nature, He is the same in His dealings : when we come to old age, surely I He will carry, deliver, and bear us the have no need to prove. Abundant same as He used to do, God's protestimonies of Scripture declare Him mises are not made to ages, but to to be immutable. If we need proofs, people, to persons, and to men. we might look even abroad on nature, II. Consider the time of old age and we should from nature guess that as a special period, needing manitesGod would not change during the tations of the constancy oi divine short period of our mortal life.
1. Old age is a time of peculiar God's faithfulness is the same ; for if memory. In fact, it is the age of he be nearer death, he has the sweet memory. What & peculiar memory
satisfaction that he is nearer heaven; the old man has ! How many joys and if he has more need to examine he can remember, &c. And yet, look- himself than ever, he has also more ing back upon all, he can say, “ Even evidence whereby to examine himto old age He is the same," &c. How
self. frequently has he been forced to ex- 4. Of peculiar blessedness. The old claim, " Though friends have departed, man has a good experience to talk yet there is a Friend who sticketh about. He has peculiar fellowship closer than a brother; on Him I still with Christ. There are peculiar comtrust, and to Him I still commit my munings, openings of the gates of soul."
paradise, visions of glory, just as you 2. Of peculiar hope. The old saint come near to it. The nearer you get hath few hopes of the future in this to the bright light of the celestial world; they are gathered up into a city, the clearer shall be the air. But small space; and he can tell you, in all this only proves that Christ is the a few words, what constitutes all his same; because, when there are fewer expectation and desire. But he has earthly joys, He gives more spiritual one hope, and that is the very same which he had when he first trusted in 5. Of peculiar duties. (1.) Testimony. Christ; it is a hope of an inheritance I remember hearing the late Mr. Jay. that is a "undefiled, that fadeth not I fancy that if I had heard the sermon
preached by a young man, I should 3. Of peculiar solicitude. An old not have thought so much of it; but
anxious about many there appeared such a depth in it things, as we are, for he hath not because it came from an old man, so many things for which to concern standing on the borders of the grave; himself. But (1.) he hath more soli. it was like an echo of the past, citude about his bodily frame. He coming to me, to let me hear my fears every now and then that the God's faithfulness, that I might trust pitcher will be “ broken at the cis- for the future. Testimony is the duty tern; for “the noise of the grinders of old men and women; they should is low.” But in this peculiar solici- labour whenever they can to bear tude you have another proof of divine testimony to God's faithfulness, and faithfulness; for now that you have to declare that now also, when they little pleasure in the flesh, do you not are old and grey-headed, their God find that God is just the same;
and forsakes them not. (2.) Comforting the that, though the days are come when young believer. No one is more quayou can say, “I have no pleasure in lified than kind-hearted old men to them,” yet the days are not come when convert the young ; when the young you can say, “I have no pleasure in Christian comes to them, they say, Him?” (2.) There is another solicitude “Do not fear: I have gone through -a failure of mind. They forget the waters, and they have not overmuch which they would wish to re- flown me," &c. (3.) Warning. The member ; but still they find that warnings of the old have great effect; their God is just the same; that His and it is their peculiar work to guide goodness does not depend on their the imprudent, and warn the unmemory; that the sweetness of His
wary. grace does not depend upon their APPLICATION.-1. What a precious palate. (3.) The chief solicitude of thought, young men and women, is old age is death. Young men may
contained in this text! Here is a safe die soon.
Old men must die. His investment. A rock may be dissolved, one solicitude now is, to examine him- and if I build a house on that it may self whether he is in the faith. But be destroyed; but if I build on Christ,
my happiness is secure for ever. How 1. Il furnishes encouragement to prayer. blessed it is to begin in the early The Atheist makes another use of this morning to love and serve God! The doctrine, and infers from it that it must best old Christians are those who were be in vain to pray, because our petitions once young Christians. 2. You middle
can produce no change in the divine aged men are plunged in the niidst of mind. But this inference is as rebusiness, and you are sometimes sup- pugnant to sound reasoning as it is to posing what will become of you in your the precepts of the Bible, and the old age. But is there no promise of spirit of piety (II. E. I. 2255, 3750– God to you that you suppose about 3753). If the Lord were fickle like to-morrows? Middle-aged man, give earthly monarchs, then, indeed, it thy present years to Him. 3. Vener- would be vain to pray, for He might able fathers in the faith, and mothers grant a petition one day, and deny it in Israel, take these words for your another, or He might change His joy. Do not let the young people purposes and plans altogether. But catch you indulging in melancholy, if a prince promised to confer some but go about cheerful and happy, and great benefit upon a certain condition, they will think how blessed it is to and you knew his promise to be unbe a Christian, for so will you prove changeable, what man in the world to them—to a demonstration, that would think of saying, “ It is no use even to old age God is with you, and to seek the benefit, because it depends that when your strength faileth He is upon the fulfilment of a prescribed still your preservation.-C. H. Spur- condition ?” geon : Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 2. It encourages our personal confidence No. 81-82.
in God, amidst all the changes and decays of this mortal state. We cannot trust a
changeable being. God is worthy our “ Even to your old age, I am He.” utmost confidence, for He is immutable That is, “I am the same; I remain un- (ch. xxvi. 4). (a) changeable, with the same tenderness, 3. It should stimulate us to seek freedom affection, and care.” The proper study from all fickleness—a steadiness of prinof man is God. Though apart from a ciple, purpose, action (Ps. lvii. 7; divine revelation we may acquire some cviii. 1). knowledge of His character and per- 4. It infallibly secures the punishment of fections, His full-orbed character is the finally impenitent. Every threatenonly to be found in the revelation He ing as well as every promise must be has been pleased to make of Himself fulfilled. in His Word. All things, &c., change; • Faithful in Thy promises, but God is ever the same. “I am He, And in Thy threatenings too." the same yesterday," &c.
- Alfred Tucker. I. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD. He is subject to no change whatever in
(a) His people always need His protection His manner of being, His perfections, and care, and He will never leave nor forsake purposes, promises, or threatenings. them (Heb. xiii. 5). He who is the God of Whatever He was millions of
infancy and childbood will be the God of age. ages
“ The second childhood of man will find Him before the worlds were made, He is
no less certainly a protector than the first." now; and what He is now, He will be “Man travelling upon the road espies some for ever.
That He is thus unchange- great castle ; sometimes it seems to be nigh, able is clear from-1. Reason; 2.
another time afar off ; now on this hand, anon Nature; 3. Moral government; 4.
on that; now before, by and by behind ; when
all the while it standeth still unmoved. So a The repeated and explicit declarations
man that goes in a boat by water thinks the of Holy Scripture (H, E. I. 2254, 2256, shore moveth, whereas it is not the shore but 2324, 2341).
the boat that passeth away. Thus it is with
God: sometimes He seemeth to be angry II. SOME OF THE PRACTICAL LESSONS
with the sons of men, another time to be WHICH THIS DOCTRINE TEACHES,
well pleased ; vow to be at band, anon at & for me ?” The words came from a lady sitting Age does not make them less depen
distance ; now showing the light of His countenance, by and by hiding His face in displeasure; yet He is not changed at all.
It is we, not He, that is changed. He is immutable in His nature, in His counsels, and in all His promises." —Beveriuge.
THE LORD'S CARE OF HIS PEOPLE
xlvi. 4. And even to your old age, da What a consolatory declaration- taining grace. Human care is vari. sufficient to silence all our fears, and able according to our changing circumto afford us quietness and peace for stances and situations, but God's care
is constant under all circumstances: I. THE OBJECTS OF THE DIVINE affliction, temptation, &c. CARE.
III. THE GROUNDS AND ASSUR1. The whole creation. God is ever ANCES OF THE DIVINE CARE. present and ever active, and all the 1. The relations He sustains to us. operations of nature are the manifesta- He is our (1.) Creator. “I have made tions of His living care (Psa. civ. 10- yon," and (chap. xliv. 2). Whatever 28; Matt. x. 29; Luke xii. 24, &c.) motive induced Him to create us, still 2. More especially man-made in His induces Him to care for us.
(2.) Proimage, formed for eternal existence, prietor. He cares for His own lawful and endowed with capacities of eternal possession. (3.) Father. He cares for enjoyment. Even those who are un- us with infinitely more concern than thankful and evil (Matt. vi. 45). 3. the very best earthly father. (4.) ReIn a yet more special sense His own deemer (chap. xli. 14, &c.) The former believing people (1 Tim. iv. 10). arguments apply with double force. These He calls His“ beloved," &c. What greater proof can there be of None are overlooked or neglected. His care? The cross is its measure. Remember your individual interest in 2. The teaching and promises of His the special care of your Heavenly Word (Psa. ciii, 13; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5 ; Father.
Isa, xlix. 15 ; Heb. vi. 17, 18, &c.) II. THE DISTINGUISHING CHARAC- 3. The experience of His people (Deut. TERISTICS OF THE DIVINE CARE. xxxii. 7). Could we ask those who
1. It is most tender. “I will carry inhabit the celestial mansions, doth you, and I will bear." Surpasses God care for His people ?' they would the tenderness of a fond mother for all reply, with loud and grateful rapher helpless infant (chap. xlix. 15). ture, • He doth care for His people,' 2. Active and effectual. “ I will de- &c. Those who are now on the way liver.” He will accomplish that which to heaven can testify to God's loving concerneth us (chap. xiv. 24). His
This is the most obvious and care is not an idle sentiment, but an impressive evidence. operative principle, and being con- CONCLUSION.-1. The wonderful connected with almighty power, cannot descension of God (Psa. cxiii. 5, 6). 2. exert itself in vain, but accomplishes The obligations that rest upon us to with ivfinite ease all its purposes. love and serve Him who thus cares for Human care is often inefficient, for 3. The privilege of casting all want of power, but with God to will is care "--anxieties—“upon Him to perform, &c. 3. Unwearied. “Even who careth for us” (1 Pet. v. 7 ; Phil. to your old age,” &c. Surpasses that iv. 6, 7). This is the universal heart'sof the most tender parent, which na- ease—the only cure for care.(a)turally dies away as the child reaches Alfred Tucker. manhood. God's people are always the objects of His tender solicitude. (a) “Does my heavenly Father really care
by an open window; her brow bore the trace dent, and experience only teaches them
of care and sadness; her eyes were suffused more and more their need of His sus
with tears. Within two years death had thrice