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fefs the father's throne. In this situation the old man prays, “ Deliver me out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

O God, be not far from me ; make hafte to my help.” Under this severe affliction he doubtless requested, that God would incline the hearts of his children to treat him with filial duty and affection, and to study the peace and comfort of his declining age.

The happiness of the parent, in the latter fta. ges of his life, depends much on the mood behaviour of his children; and particularly on their kind attention to him. I pity the aged man, who, when his strength fails, looks anxiously around, and sees not a son on whom he can lean : no ; not a child, who will reach out a hand to fuftain his sinking frame, and guide his tottering steps. But I congratulate the happy old man, who fees his children about him, all attentive to his wants, listening to his complaints, compassionate to his pains, and emulous each to excell the other in acts of filial duty. I honour the children, when instead of seeing the old father tofsed from place to place, unwelcome wherever he is sent, they adopt the language of Jofeph, “Come to me, my father

; thou shalt be near to me, and I will nourish thee.” Such filial kindness foothes the pains, and cheers the spirits of the parent. It makes him forget his affliction, or remember it as waters which pass away.

But, secondly, what David principally requested was, that God would grant him the presence of his grace. Thus he prays, in another Pfalm, “ Caft me not away out of thy presence ; take not thy holy spirit from me; restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

His outward man was decaying ; but he solicited such fupplies of grace, as should renew the inward man day by day. In his increasing infirmi. ties he could take pleasure, when the power of God rested upon him ; for however weak in himfelf, he was strong in the Lord.

1. In this prayer he asks grace, that he may maintain a temper and behaviour suited to his age and condition.

It becomes the aged to be grave and sober, for they stand on the brink of the eternal world. And who would not be sober there ? If we should ever happen to see such men light and vain, addicted to frothy discourse, fond of diffolute company, and seeking guilty amusements, we should be shocked at the spectacle. We should naturally conclude, that their hearts were totally alienated from God and religion, and completely ftupified by the habits of sin.

It becomes them to be temperate and vigilant, and to avoid every indulgence, which might tend to increase the peevilhness and irritability natural. ly incident to a period of pain and infirmity.

It becomes them to be patient and resigned. As they are subject to peculiar trials, and the strength of nature fails, they should implore the presence of that good spirit, whosefruitsaregentleness,meek. nessandlongsuffering. They should call to mind for. mer mercies, and meditate on God's works of old. They should consider that their time is fort, and their trials will soon be over. " Now for a season, if need be, they are in heaviness through manifold temptations ; but if patience has its perfect work, the trial of their faith, which is more precious, than that of gold which perishes, will be found to praise and honour at the coming of Christ. And these light afflictions, which are but for a mo. ment, will work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

2. They should pray for grace, that by a pattern of piety and heavenly mindedness, they may recommend religion to others. They are required to be found in charity, as well as patience ; not only to bear their troubles with fortitude and dignity, but to exhibit in all things a behaviour, which becometh holiness, that they may teach the young to be fober minded. This is the best exercise of their charity.

David, in his old age, felt a benevolent concern for rising pofterity. Hence he prays, “ O God, forsake me not, when I am old, until I have shewed thy strength to this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

The aged man, taken off by his infirmities from the active buliness of life, can in no way do more service for God and for mankind, than by exhibiting a visible example of contentment and humility, piety and spirituality, faith and hope, in the near views of another world. He thus demonstrates the excellence and power of religion, and calls on all around him to embrace and cherish it, that like him, they may bear affliction with serenity, and meet death with fortitude.

3. David here folicits communion with God. « Caft me not off.” Deny me not free access to thee. “ Turn not away my prayer, nor thy mercy from me."

The good man, in all circumstances, would maintain a heavenly intercourse. But he desires and values this privilege most in a time of affliction, and in the near expectation of death. Our Saviour, who was, at all times, filled with a devout {pirit, exercised this spirit most fervently and frequently toward the close of his life. And so ought

the aged faint. As he is discharged from the labours

and occupations of the world, let him difmiss his worldly affections and thoughts, and give himself, more than formerly, to self examination, meditation and prayer. Viewing the time as at hånd, when, taking leave of all earthly things, he must enter into a new world, mingle in new connexions, and appear in the prefence of God, let him employ himself in the contemplation of heaven and in the exercises of devotion, more conftantly than he could ordinarily do in former years, when the world had greater demands upon him. Looking forward to the last stage of life, and realizing the condition in which he may then be placed, let him often ask beforehand, that God would give him, at that time, the spirit of prayer in a superior degree ; would grant him, under nature's weakness, ability to collect and arange his thoughts, and a fervour of pious affection in making known his requests. This, in a similar case, was the employment and the comfort of the Psalmift. “My soul,” says he,“ is full of troubles, and my life draweth near to the grave : mine acquaintance are put far from me, and I am fhut up, that I cannot

go

forth.” And what could he do in this condition ? One thing he could do and this he did. He applied himself to prayer, which is the best relief of an afflicted soul. I have called daily upon thee, and to thee have I ftretched out my hands. Unto thee have I cried, O Lord, and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

Let my prayer come before thee; incline thine ear to my cry.”

4. David, in this petition, “ Cast me not off in the time of old age,” requests that, by the power of divine grace working in him, his faith and hope might hold out to the last; and that, by the

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sensible displays of divine light, and by increas. ing evidence of his title to falvation, he might be freed from the distressing apprehension of being finally cast off and forsaken of his God. Thus he prays, on another occasion, “ Cast me not away out of thy presence. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.”

In all seasons and conditions of life, the hope of glory is much to be desired, and earnestly to be fought. This will lighten our afflictions and sweeten our mercies ; defend us against temptations and smooth the path of duty; dispel the gloom which hovers round the grave, and brighten the prospect of eternity. But this hope is never more important, or more delightful than in old age.--Now the joys of life have fled, and earthly prospects are cut off; now the day of

probation is expiring, and the folemn hour of retribution is at hand. How unhappy the case of those, who are going down to the grave without hope, and going to judgment with a consciousness of un pardoned guilt ; who, in the review of life, fee nothing but vain amusements, sensual pleasures, earthly affections and avaricious or ambitious pursuits : and in the contemplation of futurity see nothing before them, but death, judgment and fiery indignation ? But how happy the aged Chriftian, who can look back on a life employed in works of piety to God, and beneficence to men, and who now feels the spirit of devotion and char. ity warmed within him, and acting with fresh vigor to confirm his hopes of heaven, dispel the fears of death, and light up fresh joys in his soul ? He can take pleasure in his infirmities, regarding them as kind intimations, that " now is his falvation nearer, than when he believed.”

Such was Paul's felicity, when he was ready to

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