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Devotion. The idea of the presence of God as a friend and father completely precludes the depressing sense of loneliness; and easily may he bear all that is disagreeable in the conversation of his fellow-creatures who can delight himself in God. The exercises. of religion are so far from producing gloom and fretfulness, that they exhilarate the mind of the holy worshipper. The pious old man comes forth from! the closet of prayer, with a face shining with benig-nity and gladness; and I may add on this part of the subject, that the views which devotion gives of Pro-** vidence, of its wisdom and goodness in all its procedure, are admirably fitted to repress every feeling of dissatisfaction about the arrangements of our lot ; and the conviction, “God doth all things well,” cannot be felt without something more rapturous than tranquillity. Walking in the light of God's countenance and rejoicing in his name all the day, are the promised attainments of the pure in heart.

Benevolence.-This principle not only keeps the old man free from all the inquietude which arises from envy and malignity, but yields him all the delight which the happiness of others can afford him. From what he hath seen of life in the course of his long experience, he feels assured that there is much enjoya : ment around him, and that the earth is full of God's mercy. Now, the idea that others are happy is cheering to a benevolent man amidst all his own difficulties. Instead of complaining of my own infirmities, I will rejoice in hearing from others the melody of joy and health ; instead of repining at the neglect which I experience, I will rejoice that others are

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honoured; and instead of fretting that I must soon leave the world, I will rejoice in the bright hopes with which the young are entering on it, and pray that they may be realized in utility and enjoyment more extensive and ample than mine have been. Fi. gure to yourselves an old man viewing with delight children at their sports. Instead of complaining of their restlessness and noise, he is charmed wi h their gaiety; he recalls the earliest and the sweetest of his days, and seems to feel the vivacity of his youth kindling within him.

Contentment. This principle teaches a man to view with complacency and satisfaction objects and scenes which to others appear to call for nothing but repining, and instead of fretting that so little remains with him of the materials of enjoyment, he is astonished that God hath left so much. If one sense fạils, he is grateful that this is not the case with all the rest. If some friends are gone, he is thankful that others remain ;, and if excluded from one ordinance, he blesses God that to some of the means of grace he still hath access.

If disease afflicts him with pain, he is grateful that he hath not a complication of maladies to, struggle with. Contentment finds some verdure in the winter of life, and a sweet stillness in the evening twilight.

I add, as the last requisite to a cheerful old age,

Hope. Instead of dark forebodings of evil to come, this hope assures the good man that he shall never be left helpless or forlorn. However little there may be in his worldly situation to encourage his expectations, his hope rests on the promise of him who is God alle

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sufficient, and whose truth endureth to all. genera. tions; and with regard to another world, he sees his best hopes on the point of being realized: the Lord is at hand, the heavens are opening, and the voice of his beloved is heard. The sacred writers speak in various places of rejoicing in hope ; and beautiful is the alliance betwixt these two gifts of Heaven,-"everlasting consolation and good hope through grace," which the apostle joins together in his prayer. Consolation animates hope, and hope increases consolation. Hope hath power to quicken the languid faculties, to brighten the dim eye, to strengthen the failing heart. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.

CONCLUSION.

1. How strongly does the broken spirit claim our pity and our prayers! It is impossible to conceive on this side the grave a condition more dreary. In other situations of distress we have the hope of a favourable crisis in a few days, or at least we know that a very short time will either bring with it death or a cure ; but who can tell when the broken spirit will be healed, and what periods of sorrow are appointed to it? To those whom Providence hath called to minister to such, I would say, God intends by this painful service to cherish in you the best fruits of his Spirit-patience, sympathy, and love, and to confer on you the highest honour of which you are capable, that of being a fellow-worker with him in that office in which he takes a peculiar interest," the comforting of them that are cast down.” Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

All severity is now discarded from the treatment of those who are insane ; and in every species of mental disorder, it is not merely useless but hurtful. It ago gravates the malady, and manifests a cruelty which no consideration can justify. “ Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop : but a good word maketh it glad."* * 2. Let us carefully guard against the first symptoms of despondence in ourselves and in others. The first symptom which makes its appearance of a malady dangerous to the body, excites fear, and we are eager, by every suitable application, to repel the disease that is advancing; and shall we not combat a disorder more frightful and dangerous ? Let us seek out those remedies which the Gospel contains for raising the bowed down: let us view events on their bright as well as on their dark side; let us cultivate the society of those who are walking in the light of the Lord; let us be diligent in our calling, and let us pray without ceasing. The singing of psalms, is not only a fit expression of cheerfulness, but an excellent means to produce it, and to chase away the evil spirit. He will not make that place his haunt where this joyful sound is heard. Amusement is an expedient much commended by worldly people; they say, that symptoms of despondence will be most effectually repressed by it; and many a one has been dragged to the theatre or the ball-room, who could only sigh over its giddiness and folly, and who felt his gloom aggravated by the laugh of the scorner. At the same

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* Prov. xii, 25.

time it must be stated, that active employment, cheerful society, the fresh breath of heaven, and the sight of nature in its beauty, are excellent expedients for maintaining or restoring a healthful state of mind and body.

3. Let me give a few exhortations to the aged. Some of you are complaining that your old age is cheerless ; but remember, that this is to be imputed to your own carelessness and folly. You thought old age would never come, and you made no preparation. That caution made no suitable impression on you,.. “ If a man live many years, and rejoice in them all, let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many."* You are now feeling the anguish of the broken spirit, and are saying in the bitterness of your souls, “I feel the worm gnawing that shall never die, and the fire kindling that shall never be quenched." But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Deem not the number or the severity of your ailments a reason for despondence, but let your exercise be that of the primitive Christians, so beautifully described by the Apostle Peter" In the gospel salvation ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations ; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye

Eccl. xi. 8.

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