« AnteriorContinua »
the moon and the stars are dark- same thing as to become a new ened, when the clouds return af- creature, or to be born of the hoter the rain, when the keepers of ly Spirit. When aged persons the house tremble, and the strong are found in the way of rightmen bow themselves, when the eousness, they are found in Christ, grasshopper becomes a burden, who, by his Spirit, has renewed and desire fails. Comparing the their hearts, and inclined them to vigour and sprightliness of youth walk with God on the earth. with the infirmilies and decrepi- Many, doubtless, who are far adtude of old age, the latter appears vanced in life, and whose probato be a gloomy period. But there tionary state is drawing to a close, is a path plainly marked out in are total strangers to the true the word of God, which, if it has knowledge of God, and, though been entered on and pursued, not they may have been loaded with only counterbalances all the evils worldly honours, have all their and burdens attendant on old age, days been walking the downward but renders that period, in many road. Nothing short of true rerespects, the most honourable of ligion, that religion which is the any part of human life. Allud- fruit of a regenerated heart, and ing to this path, and the happy which consists essentially in selfconsequences of walking in it, the denial, will distinguish the hoary wise king of Israel, guided by the head from the wicked in general; inspiration of the holy Spirit, ob- because there is nothing, short served, The hoary head is a crown of this, which will translate one of glory, if it be found in the way of the fallen race of Adam from of righteousne88.
the kingdom of darkness into the To make this paper the more kingdom of Christ. True religi interesting and instructive to that ion is the lowest condition on class of readers for whom it is es- which a standing in the family of pecially designed, it may be pert the Rodeemer, and the hope of tinent to notice certain appear- a peaceful departure from the ances in aged persons, which world, can be maintained. This never fail to render the evening of the aged must possess, or they their days, with all their infirmi- will be strangers to every degree ties, honourable, quiet and happy. of that support, which they will
1. When this is the case, they need, when they see all their are Cound fearing God.
worldly prospects contracting. It is recorded in the scriptures 2. Aged persons, in order to of truth, that “the fear of the possess that bope, which is an Lord is the beginning of wis- « anchor of the soul, both sure dom.” Of no person, whether and stedfast, and which entereth old or young, learned or unlearn- into that within the vail,” must ed, can it be said, that he is wise, not be novices in experimental in the scripture senge, who does religion. not possess this fear.
All men Of those of our fallen race, who have, by nature, hearts which are belong to the kingdom of Christ, “ enmity against God,”and which much the greatest part were call. are “nol subjeci to his law, nei, ed into that kingdom in their ther indeed can be.” To begin to youthful days. They were callfear and love God, therefore, is the ed, and justified, and sanctified,
that, being early in the school of make it their first and greatest Christ, they might be fitted for
concern. They must early enter the work they had to do on earth, the school of Christ, and be faithand be “ made meet to be partak- ful in it. ers of the inheritance of the Aged persons will appear to be saints in light." Few, it is be- novices in that knowledge, which is lieved, begin the great work of so desirable and important in the preparing for eternity, in old age, near prospect of eternity, if the after they have spent, in sin, al- morning and meridian of their most the whole of their state of days were spent in sin, and if they probation. The remark has of- did not turn unto the Lord until ten been made, and, probably, it their natural powers began to fail, is founded in truth, that the under the weight of years. How characters of men are generally could it be otherwise with them? formed and fixed for eternity, be- How could they expect to have fore they have passed the merid- much knowledge of God or of ign of their days.
themselves, with little pains and Although they, who turn unto short experience? The present the Lord and engage in his ser- is a world of correction and discivice, at the eleventh hour, will, pline. In various ways, God is through sovereign mercy, be ac- presenting to all, seasonable and cepted ; yet they will go out of important instruction ; and they the world, with little experience who are wise are gaining knowl. in the things of religion. Their edge, under their advantages. Do knowledge of God and of them- the aged appear in character, or selves will be very small; and as they ought to appear, if, comthe righteous Judge, who will re- pared with Christians in general, ward men according to their they are mere babes in experideeds, will discriminate between mental religion? This, in ordinathem, and those who long denied ry cases, must evince, that they themselves to build up his king- were either very late in their atdom and to promote his glo- tention to the great business of ry. Christian knowledge is usu- life, or that they have attended ally the result of long and dili- to it with criminal indifference. gent attention to the things of re- But, when we see hoary heads ligion. Regeneration, or the eminent in Christian experience, implantatiorf of grace in the heart, eminent in prayer, and mighty is an instantaneous change ; but in the scriptures, being “ spirit• sanctification, or growth in Chris- ual men of full age, who by reatian knowledge and experience, is son of use have their senses exa work of time. It is not effected ercised to discern both good and at once, any more than the infant evil,” we may know it is the rechild grows instantly to a state sult of having been long in the of maturity and manhood. In service of Christ, and of having that divine command recorded in been, in some good measure, the sacred volume, give diligence faithful to God and to their own 19 make your calling and election souls. It is pleasing to see those, sure, it is necessarily implied, who are old in years, well versed that Christians, in order to attain in the knowledge of divine things, to any eminence in religion, must 'and appearing not to have just Vol. III. No. 4.
begun, but to have made great the gospel are familiar to their advances, in the Christian race. minds. Indecision, with res. When they can converse under- pect to the doctrines of grace, is standingly on the character of not honourable in old men. It God, on the depravity and treach- neither becomes their hoary ery of the heart, and on the na- heads, nor does it comport with ture of the Christian wa are, their near approach to the eterthey give evidence of having nal world. profited, by living long in this 4. The aged appear honouraworld, and of their ripening for ble, when the families they bave the grave and for heaven. trained up are well instructed in
3. The aged, in order to ap- the things of religion. pear with honour in their stand- Children, generally, exhibit ing, must be sound in faith. evidence of the manner in which
An old person, though he may they have been educated by their exhibit some evidence of real rt- parents. Such parents as walk ligion, does not appear to advan- in the fear of the Lord, and maintage-he does not reflect hon- tain consistency of character beour on Christ, nor on himself, if fore their houses, make deep imhe. be a novice in the doctrines of pressions on the minds of their the gospel. On the contrary, he children. This will be especialexhibits melancholy proof of his ly true, in those cases where pagreat neglect of God's word.
rents possessed religion, while The apostle Paul, among many
their children were young. If other directions, charged Titus they have observed religious or to “ speak the things which be- der in their houses, and conductcome sound doctrine ; that the ed so as to adorn their Christian aged men be sober, grave, profession, their children, gentemperate, sound in faith.” Aerally, to say the least, are inclinknowledge of the doctrines of ed to treat religion, and religious the gospel is not gained, by the institutions, with outward resstudy of a few hours or a few pect. This will appear when days, but is the fruit of a long parents are old, and even after and careful attention to the Bible, they have gone the way of all the which is the fountain of light. earth. The hearts of some par To have a clear view of the ents are frequently filled with scheme of salvation, revealed in gries, that their chikiren are disthe holy scriptures, is a great at- posed to treat them with no more tainment. Considering the long respect, and that they can have opportunities for instruction, en- no more influence over them. joyed by the aged, especially such Perhaps after all, they themas have lived under the light of selves, by their own unfaithfulthe gospel, we have reason to ness, and by their unwise treatlook for this attainment in them. ment of their children, have laid. They ought to give proof, that the foundation for this grief. they are thoroughly acquainted They are not respected by their with the sacred volume, that they children, because they have nevhave thought and conversedi er 'respected themselves, in the much on religion, and that the view of their children. Far leading and essential doctrines of would the writer of these
ON THE DOCTRINE
thoughts be from intimating, that the great and important busines's it is in the power of parents to of life, until his sun is seen to be effect, in their children, a saving almost setting! Who can serichange. This is the work of ously reflect on the prospects of God. Notwithstanding this, by sach a person, and refrain from consistency of conduct, and by tears? How miserably he has persevering in it, they may gain spent the precious moments of a surprising and happy influence his life ! moments which can over thein. How pleasing and never be recalled! He is on the interesting is the account, which verge of the eternal worlä, and the scriptures give us, of Joseph's yet unprepared to meet his God: guing with his children to his Let the aged, who may have opfather Jacob for a blessing! That portunity, seriously weigh these transaction may be considered as thoughts; and may " the Lord witnessing for the pious patri- give them understanding in all arch, that his hoary head was things."
H. found in the way of righteousness. Joseph would not have taken such a step, if he had not believed, that his venerable facher walked with God.
In a Series of Letters to a Friend. It is an honour to grow old,
Concluded from page 118. and wear out, in the service of Christ. If, therefore, we may
LETTER V. charitably believe, that an aged Objections to the Scripture Doctrine of person has long been running
.the Atonement considered. the Christian race; that his in- DEAR SIR, firmities have not come upon It is objected, “ that the comhim, in consequence of the in- mutation of iniquity and holiness dulgence of sinful appetites, but between Christ and believers, in the service of God, his grey which those," reputed orthodo.r," hairs, his trembling limbs, and his maintain, is subversive of all rafaltering voice, at once demand tional ideas of divine justice." our reverence and respect. The But this is only a strong assermost abandoned persons can hard- tion without proof. No other ly refrain from rising up, and kind of commutation is contendcalling him blessed. On the ed for than that, which, by the other hand, what spectacle, in consent of the parties concerned, this world, can be more affecting transfers, not the acts or the merthan an old man, whose “ bones its of righteousness and sin, but are full of the sins of his youth," the rights or burdens annexed to whose infirmities have been hast- each respectively; or than that, ened and increased by his irreg- which takes place between a ular life; whose prayers and debtor and his sponsor ; which is blessing are never sought by his thought not inconsistent with rachildren and posterity ; whose tional ideas of justice. But to inheart has become callous under flict the curse of the law, and give the instructions of the gospel, the wages of sin to Christ, when and the warning dispensations of it is supposed not to be due for providence; who has neglected any sin in him, or imputed to him; and to justify one who is special favours were indeed ob. personally unrighteous, and has tained by the merits of Christ : no righteousness imputed, seems but they are farther acts or gifts, indeed subversive of rational of grace after the gift of faith, ideas of justice, and inconsistent and such as are not promised or with the character of a righteous vouchsafed to all alike. The Judge.
promises will be fulfilled to all, It is further objected, that "the who are interested in the rightimputation of Christ's righteouis- eousness of Christ. But God ness to a believer would effectu- grants unpromised favours to ally exclude, after the gift of faith, some of them, in distinction from all possibility of farther grace to others. He has a right to dis. the children of inen."
pense the blessings of his grace, I answer. 1. God's bestowing in what manner and measure he on us blessins to which he has pleases. freely given us a title, is as much It is farther argued, “ if an act of grace, as if we had no sinners have a sinless rightprevious title to them.
Free eousness, which is properly their grace is the source and founda- own, they would have no sins to tion of all gospel blessings, which confess and be forgiven. The we receive through the mediation confession or forgiveness of one, of Christ.
to whom no sin can be justly im2. The imputed righteousness puted, seems a contradiction." of Christ entitles the believer to Answer. They who have a the promise of eternal life. If sinless righteousness imputed to we had a perfect inherent right- them, to entitle them to justificaeousness, we could have no title tion, or the rights and privileges to eternal life otherwise, than by of the righteous, are yet in thema divine promise. Now eternal selves sinful. The sin is not life and the blessings of the cove- imputed to them to condemnanant of grace are promised to be- tion, for there is no condemnalievers, as all allow. But whether tion to them, who are in Christ; these promises be made to them, yet pardoned sins are sins as as clothed in the imputed right
hateful as any,
and imputed cousness of Christ, or not; it is righteousness is not infused into certain, that God, according to the person, who is justified by it. his sovereign will, bestows his While sin dwells in us, we ought grace and blessings more on to be humbly sensible, that we some, than on others, who are are sinners, to acknowledge it, equally interested in Christ and ask forgiveness, to hate our in the promises of salvation. He sins, and turn from them. If it exercises his free and sovereign is the duty of all men, to love God, grace in granting to some be- and keep his commandments; lievers much greater outward then it is the duty of all, who favours and privileges, greater have sin in them, to hate their measures of the gifts and graces sins, and turn from them to of the holy Spirit, than he grants God, and to a right temper and to others; and their glory, hon- practice. Their being pardoned our, and happiness in heaven will and sanctified would not release be distinguishingly great. These them from the duties of repent.