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of his love. This he laments with sorrow sincere and deep : for this he implores the forgiveness of a gracious and covenant-keeping God.

But while there is here and there a page of sorrow in his history, it is contemplated, as a whole, with gladness. It contains the record of long years of allegiance and service, rendered in the spirit of obedience and love to his ever-loved and glorious Master. It contains the record of many an earnest conflict with temptation, and of many a victory won, through grace, over its utmost power. It contains the record of many a purpose which had its origin in a love that embraced both God and man; of many a scheme of usefulness, the adaptation of whose every part to its end tells of a heavenly guidance, and proves the bestowal of a heavenly blessing. It contains the record of his activity in scattering the good seed of the kingdom, and of rich fruits of righteousness already gathered as the result, and to be gathered in growing abundance for ever. It contains the record of many a plant of grace nurtured by his hand, and destined, through his instrumentality, to an everlasting bloom in the paradise above. Happy the man who, from amid the feebleness of declining years, may look back over the pathway of such a history, and recognize it as his own! What & volume of blessedness is expressed, when from the lips of such an one is heard the inspired and inspiring language of an early disciple: “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith!”

How different this from the words of self-reproach which often force themselves from the lips of one who, having grown old in sin, has become distinctly and painfully conscious that his earthly course is well nigh run! He has lived for the pursuit .of selfish and worldly ends, and no matter how successful he may have been in their attainment, now that he stands on the brink of the grave, bearing the marks of age in every feature, and trembling in every limb with its weakness, his soul is haunted by the cousciousness that, so far as all the higher and better purposes of his being are concerned, his life has been thrown away. Thus a burden of wretchedness is rolled upon his heart, under whose crushing weight he sinks to the tomb. Thus & cloud of woe draws its curtains around his trembling, sbrinking spirit, amid whose darkness and gloom the flickering lamp of his life goes out. In view of the emotions of the aged disciple, as compared with those of the aged rejector of Christ, one may well exclaim : “ 'Let me die the death of the righteous' not only, but let me live his life, that I may enjoy his old age !"

2. He is happy in the contemplation of the blessings which have marked his history.

The kindness of his heavenly Father has not only strewn his

SERMON DLVI.

BY REV. JESSE GUERNSEY,

PASTOR OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, DERBY, CONN.

THE COMPARATIVE BLESSEDNESS OF THE CHRISTIANS

OLD AGE.

"Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not.”—Psalm laxi. 18

An obvious remark in entering upon the discussion of our subject is, that the aged disciple is happy in the contemplation of his life's history.

We are so constituted, that every evil deed, is in a measure, the instrument of its own punishment, and every act performed in obedience to conscience and to God the occasion of its own reward. Commit a deed of wrong, and he has ordained that, as an evil seed, it shall take root in the soil of your being, and unless grace interpose to prevent the result, shall henceforth blight and curse your existence by the bitterness of its fruit. Perform an act which God approves, and, by his decree, it shall be a seed whence shall spring a tree of happiness of immortal growth. This Heaven-ordained connection between evil done and evil ever afterwards suffered by the doer — between good performed and good ever afterward enjoyed by him who has performed it - is secured through the medium of memory, in combination with the conscience. Though sin is often anticipated with pleasure, it is never remembered but with self-reproach. Though duty is often looked forward to with trembling, it is never looked back upon as performed but with emotions of gladness. The memory of a life spent in wickedness is a garner of evil, ever pouring out its hoard of bitterness on the soul, and yet ever full ; while that of a life devoted to the service of God is a treasure of bliss, as abundant as the wants of the soul, and as enduring as its immortality.

The aged Christian, if this be true, cannot but be happy in the contemplation of his past conduct and influence.

His happiness is not, indeed, unmixed and perfect. Though his history has been marked and moulded by a deep and uniform desire for conformity to the Saviour's image, he remembers that sin bas lurked in his heart, and, through his heart, found its way into the life. He recognizes, as he casts his eye back over the path of his Christian pilgrimage, many a point at which his feet strayed from the straight and narrow way-many a point at which duty neglected, or evil indulged, attested the imperfection

of his love. This he laments with sorrow sincere and deep : for this he implores the forgiveness of a gracious and covenant-keeping God.

But while there is here and there a page of sorrow in his history, it is contemplated, as a whole, with gladness. It contains the record of long years of allegiance and service, rendered in the spirit of obedience and love to his ever-loved and glorious Master. It contains the record of many an

earnest conflict with temptation, and of many a victory won, through grace, over its utmost power. It contains the record of many a purpose which had its origin in a love that embraced both God and man; of many a scheme of usefulness, the adaptation of whose every part to its end tells of a heavenly guidance, and proves the bestowal of a heavenly blessing. It contains the record of his activity in scattering the good seed of the kingdom, and of rich fruits of righteousness already gathered as the result, and to be gathered in growing abundance for ever. It contains the record of many a plant of grace nurtured by his hand, and destined, through his instrumentality, to an everlasting bloom in the paradise above. Happy the man who, from amid the feebleness of declining years, may look back over the pathway of such a history, and recognize it as his own! What & volume of blessedness is expressed, when from the lips of such an one is heard the inspired and inspiring language of an early disciple: “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith!"

How different this from the words of self-reproach which often force themselves from the lips of one who, having grown old in sin, has become distinctly and painfully conscious that his earthly course is well nigh run! He has lived for the pursuit of selfish and worldly ends, and no matter how successful he may have been in their attainment, now that he stands on the brink of the grave, bearing the marks of age in every feature, and trembling in every limb with its weakness, his soul is haunted by the consciousness that, so far as all the higher and better purposes of his being are concerned, his life has been thrown away. Thus a burden of wretchedness is rolled upon his heart, under whose crushing weight he sinks to the tomb. Thus a cloud of woe draws its curtains around his trembling, sbrinking spirit, amid whose darkness and gloom the flickering lamp of his life goes out. In view of the emotions of the aged disciple, as compared with those of the aged rejector of Christ, one may well exclaim : " 'Let me die the death of the righteous' not only, but let me live his life, that I may enjoy his old age !"

2. He is happy in the contemplation of the blessings which have marked his history.

The kindness of his heavenly Father has not only strewn his path with rich gifts of grace and providence, but so constituted him, that every present blessing sends forward its light and joy to the end of his being. If a peculiar bliss is mine to-day, it is mine not to-day alone, but so long as the memory of to-day shall endure

The thoughts of the Christian in his old age are often sent back over the pathway of his life, and made to mark the points at which Heaven's gifts were most abundant and rich. Thus he ever and anon rejoices anew in the temporal mercies with which God has crowned his being. Thus he lives over again many a period bright with the joy and glory attendant upon the richest displays of redeeming grace. Thus he experiences afresh the blessedness of many a season passed in the retirement of the closet, when God has communed with him from the mercy seat, and, in answer to prayer, revealed himself to his soul in all the purity of his character, and in all the majesty and glory of his attributes. Thus he rejoices anew in the triumph of many an hour when, through faith, he has gained the victory over every doubt and fear, and joyfully rested in Christ as his Saviour. In view of these and kindred blessings experienced in the past, and joyfully remembered now, he is constrained to declare, that for him. *to live is Christ,” though he still feels that “to die is gain.”

The memory of former joys never gladdens thus the heart of the aged transgressor. He has indeed received blessings at the hand of God with his every breath, but inasmuch as his reception of mercy's gifts has been accompanied by no tribute of grate. ful affection to their Author, he knows that in the judgement they will add to the weight of his condemnation. The remembrance of those gifts is made bitter by the accompanying thought that in the coming future they will prove to have been transformed by his own fault to curses. How striking, when contrasted with the experience of the aged sinner, appears the blessedness of the Christian, as from amid the infirmities of his old age he looks back upon the blessings included in his experience of the past !

3. He is happy in the contemplation of his life's history, because of the lessons it has served to teach. Life is a school, and experience a teacher. The Christian whose presence in this school has been continued during a long course of years, cannot but be indebted to its tencher for rich stores of truth and wisdom. He has learned a thousand times, and by a thousand proofs that there is a love in heaven which insures that to every Christian “all things shall work together for good.” The record of his own inner life attests on many a page the tenderness fof his heavenly Father's regard for the children of his grace, and affirms the blessedness of that history of which Christ is the model, the source and the centre. His observation of the movemeuts of the Spirit and Providence of God gives abundant assurance that he is moving steadily and irresistibly onward toward the blessedness and triumph of that predicted day, in which the Saviour's banner of righteousness shall wave over the earth in token of perfect and universal victory! These and kindred truths, impressed upon him alike through the medium of his own history and by the Word of God, he rejoices in as pledges all the realization of his brightest hopes with reference to his Saviour, himself and the world.

The same truths, or at least very many of them, the experience and observation of the aged sinner may have served to impress upon his heart ; but such is his position in relation to them and in relation to God, that instead of being to him a source of happiness, they furnish fresh occasion for trembling in veiw of his condition and prospects. The blessedness of the aged disciple in the contemplation of his life's history, as contrasted with the aged sinner's wretchedness in the contemplation of his, may well prompt the prayer, “When I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not."

4. My next remark is, that the aged disciple is happy in the continued possession of his life's chief good.

Not so is it with the man whom the gray hairs and the tottering steps of age find still in his sins. He has outlived even the meagre enjoyments embraced in the experience of the worldling. Has he devoted his life-long energies to the pursuits of avarice? However great may have been the satisfaction be has experienced in the accumulation and investment of earthly treasure, that satisfaction has now become a thing of the past.

The glittering splendours that are wont to adorn the home of wealth may, indeed, be scattered in profusion around him, but beyond the supply of his few daily wants, bis riches contribute naught to his enjoyment. Increasing infirmities serve hourly to remind him, that his hold on the good to whose attainment he has given the cares and labors of a lifetime, is constantly slackening, and that soon that good will have passed for ever from his grasp.

Has he been content to give himself up to the pursuit of the degraded and degrading pleasures of the sensualist ? The period for the enjoyment of these has, with him, gone by for ever. His every sense is dulled and palsied by age. His every sensual experience, it may be, has become an experience of weakness and pain.

Has he found satisfaction amid the stir and excitement of business ? His business days are numbered now. His step has become too uncertain and feeble to admit of a longer familiarity with the farm, the manufactory, or the counting-room. However irksome may be the hours unemployed, save in communion with his own thoughts, there is for him no escape from them, except through the portals of the tomb. Through the portals of the tomb, did I say? There is no escape.

Has his chief joy been experienced in the society of the fashion

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