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sad to see aged men greedy of gain, or grovelling in sensual enjoyments; or aged women fond of dress, and taking pleasure in trifling amusements. Concerning many the poet's words are too true:“Though grey our heads, our thoughts and aims are green, Like damaged clocks, whose hands and bells dissent, Folly sings six, while nature points at twelve."
Not so Barzillai, the good man, for such we can but deem him, looks steadily into the grave; because he had learned to look beyond it. He was anxious to spend his last days in peaceful retirement, and prayerful preparation for the great change which awaited him. My aged friends, I pray you imitate him, do not go on delving and mining in this poor earth, till exhausted from very feebleness, you gasp and die. Do not cry as the horse-leech, Give, give, and still pant for earth, till the heart ceases its pulsations. If you have competence, stand by and let the young have an opportunity; the dusty highway, the craggy precipice, are not suitable places for your tottering feet. Retire, and prepare for eternity.
But though Barzillai deemed himself too old to be entertained at court by the king, he did not diem himself so old as to be excused from ministering to the king. He did all he could to comfort his afflicted sovereign. Here, again, he is a pattern for the aged. We are never too old to serve God, and to do good to our generation. His people are never so feeble, but they may bring some glory to his name. God has promised “to bear them even down to hoary hairs," and he has also said that they shall “ bring forth fruit in old age.” David was zealous for God even in his declining days. How sweet his prayer, how suited to the aged saint; "now I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not, until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation." His prayer was answered. Look at his last acts, 1 Chron. xxix. Hark to his last words, 2 Sam. xxiii. 1—7. “Oh! it is a goodly sight to see this aged palm-tree laden with the fruits of righteousness."
Aged man, art thou a man of God? If not, it is indeed an evil day with thee. Thy hoary head is not a crown of glory, because not found in the way of righteousness. Yet on this thy birthday let mercy once more reason with thee. Thou must become a little child in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Does the question arise,“ how can a man be born when he is old ?" I answer, the thing is only possible with God. Go to him with the prayer,“ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
THE GODLY GRANDSIRE'S BLESSEDNESS
“ And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz, in the land of Canaan; and HE BLESSED ME.”—Gen. xlviii. 3.
“ God who fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel who redeemed me from all evil, BLESS THE LADS.”—Gen. xlviii. 15, 16.
THOSE who are favoured to have parents spared till they become parents themselves, naturally delight in taking their children to see grandfather and grandmother on their birth days. And if parents and children have chosen the better part, all parties will be anxious to see children's children trophies of God's grace, and witnesses of his faithfulness. To such, the scene before us must be truly touching, and instructive. Here is Joseph with his two sons visiting aged Jacob, to hear somewhat of his eventful history, and to receive his blessing. The parties meeting-the circumstances under which they met — and the conversation which took place, all claim, and will richly reward our attention. The characters of Jacob and Joseph, exhibit many of the graces of the Spirit, and their history brings out many of the wonders of Providence. They here meet under circumstances of trial, for sickness has laid Jacob low, and he is fast sinking into the grave. Joseph is a pattern of filial love and respect to grown up chil
dren; and especially to those whom Providence has exalted to wealth and honour. The glories of a court, the cares of a kingdom, could not detain him from the sick room of his father. And was not Joseph amply repaid by what he heard. How touching, Jacob's reminiscence of the beloved Rachael, Joseph's mother, shewing that she was not forgotten; her form was still enshrined in his memory, her voice still echoed in his ear. How grateful to a father's heart were the blessings pronounced upon his sons, when with unerring precision his prophetic sire revealed the glorious destiny of his posterity. How welcome to his affectionate bosom the thrilling words, as kissing and embracing his dear boys, the venerable man said, “I had not thought to see thy face, and lo God hath showed me thy seed also.”—“God bless the lads ! ”
And how encouraging to him as a believer, Jacob's testimony to the goodness and mercy of a covenant God. “God Almighty appeared to me at Bethel, and blessed me.” We, too, may share with Joseph the rich consolation and encouragement which these words afford.
We see Jacob rejoicing in the divine glories. The title of Jehovah delights and satiates his soul; God Almighty. The all-powerful, the all-sufficient one. He who can do all for us that we require, and be all to us that we need. Who has mercy to pardon-wisdom
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to guide-power to uphold—and blessedness to enrich. Blessed are those who like Jacob have verified this in their soul's experience, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, who have leaned on his omnipotence, and lived upon his all-sufficiency.
But Jacob recollects Divine manifestations. peared to me at Luz." In the 28th chapter of Genesis, we have the history of this never to be forgotten manifestation. There Jehovah appeared as God in Christ, God in covenant, the God of providence, over-ruling all things for his people's good. He appeared most opportunely, graciously, and unexpectedly; and so may all say who have Divine manifestations to look back upon. Such Bethel scenes can never be wholly forgotten, and should be diligently improved.
Jacob also rehearses the Divine goodness, blessed me.” Wondrous thought! He, the great, the holy; me, mean and unholy; yet, he blessed me. With a knowledge of himself, with an assurance of his presence and protection, with a large inheritance, and with a disposition to devote myself wholly to him.
Reviewing this wondrous grace, rejoicing in the fact that this blessing still was his, unimpaired by time, unchanged by circumstances, remaining like the calm blue firmament unaltered (though sometimes obscured) by the clouds which flit beneath, being fully assured that he was blessed, his full heart said, “ God bless the lads."