Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

TOO OLD TO BE USEFUL

“Well, it is a pleasant sight to see young people actively engaged in doing good;" said an old lady, as she watched from her parlourwindow some of her grandchildren setting forth on their weekly errands of mercy to the poor and afflicted.

Yes; it was a pleasant sight to look upon these youthful Christians, full of health and energy, devoting their time and their talents to the service of God, and the welfare of their fellow-creatures; and yet the old lady sighed as she finished her sentence, and did not seem quite comfortable. Why? Listen to what she is saying now.

“Ah, I was once as busy as any of them. I could take a class in the Sunday school, and visit the poor and collect for the missionary society; but now I am forced to be idle and useless. My strength and my senses are gradually forsaking me; and I am but a worn-out and unprofitable servant. But come, I must not complain; I have had my share in these

good works in by-gone days, and I must be content to lie by now, and let others labour; for I am too old to be of any use.'

Was the old lady right? She meant what she said, and she meant well. She was trying to bear with patience and resignation, her unavoidable exclusion from the charitable engagements of her young relatives; but old people as well as young sometimes have mistaken ideas; and it is possible that the old lady was not quite so clear upon the subject of Christian usefulness as we should like our readers to be.

It is true that the aged cannot work in God's vineyard as they used to do before infirmity or ill health disabled them for active service, but still they are not too old to be useful.

Too old to be useful! Such words are a libel upon their character—an insult to their capabilities. It cannot be that any Christian is continued upon earth, who has not something to do as well as to suffer for his Master. Look at the closing days of the venerable Eliot, the first missionary to the American Indians. On the day of his death, when in his eightieth year, he was found teaching the alphabet to an Indian child at his bedside, “Why not rest from your labours, now?” said a friend. “Because," said the venerable man, “I have prayed to God to make me useful in my sphere, and he has heard my prayer; for now that I can no

longer preach, he leaves me strength enough to teach this poor child this alphabet.”

Eighty years of age and bed-ridden! Who after this can plead their inability to do good ? Who will not rather gather up their remaining time and talents and devote them to God's service ? Like the widow's mite, your offering may seem poor and small; you are almost ashamed to cast it into the treasury; but bring it without hesitation—nay, with gladness; what could you give more ? it is your all; and your feeble efforts will meet with kind and gracious acknowledgment from a loving Saviour, who said, “She hath done what she could !"*

Oh, it is so delightful to labour for Christ, that the true-hearted Christian would fain keep on as Eliot did to the last. The late Rev. John Campbell, of Kingsland, went one morning to attend an early committee meeting of a religious society. On his way up-stairs he found an old friend, remarkable for his devotedness to the cause of Christ, leaning on the balustrade which led to the room, and unable to proceed from a difficulty of breathing.

“What! are you here, Mr. T.? How could you venture in your state of health ? You have attended our meetings for a long time, and you should now leave the work for younger men.

His friend looked up with a cheerful smile,

* Mark xiv. 8.

D

and replied with characteristic energy, “Oh, Johnny, Johnny, man, it is hard to give up working in the service of such a Master."

How cheering then is the thought that the aged have still opportunities of usefulness afforded them. Suppose we remind our readers of a few ways in which they have it in their power to benefit others.

Well, some of you, perhaps, who cannot walk about and visit your neighbours, might send them a little tract or book occasionally. A person dies in your street--a child is born in

-a the next house-a worldly family opposite are in trouble—a gentleman has met with an accident—a grocer's shop is open on the Sunday ;all these, and many others, are occasions when "a little messenger of mercy” might speak “a word in season.' Listen to the following fact.

A man who was keeper of one of the locks on the Grand Junction Canal, lived for many years apparently without any religious feelings. He possessed much personal kindness, and had been the means of saving at least twelve persons from a watery grave, some of whom had plunged into the stream in seasons of frantic sorrow. In the summer of 1841, poor Matthew met with a severe accident, and was removed to the London Hospital. After he had been there a few days, he received a letter by post-of which

a

[ocr errors]

the following is a copy—inclosing a tract entitled “ To-day:"

“ You have suffered greatly, my friend; your poor body calls for help and sympathy, and in the hospital you are mercifully attended to, as you could not be at home. How is it with your precious soul ? Are you fit to die? Had

your sufferings caused instant death, where would your soul have been ?

Where, my friend? Where? In heaven, or in hell ? Do think of this inquiry, and read the tract I enclose, or get some one to read it to you. Do not neglect this friendly warning, but attend to it while it is yet with you called "To-day. Oh!

' what a mercy you were spared yet a little longer! may it be for the salvation of your precious soul.

The Lord Jesus is able and willing to save all who feel their need of his salvation. Pray, then, afflicted friend, for the Holy Spirit to show you your need of mercy, and of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse you from your sins, and to obtain your acceptance with God.

The tract was written by a gentleman seventy years old. May the Lord make it a blessing to your soul. He is able and willing to save you from going to hell, and willing to prepare you for the holiness and happiness of heaven.-Farewell.”

There was no signature to the letter; it bore the “Stroudwater" postmark, but Matthew knew

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »