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To the work now submitted to the world the Author was led by his former publications. It has been suggested to him, from various quarters, that a volume of Discourses to the Aged would be a suitable appendage to his Monitor to Families and to his Sermons to the Young; and the kind reception with which these books have been honoured has encouraged him in the present effort.
To the admonition of the aged some ancient moralists directed the lessons of wisdom and the power of classic eloquence ; nor has this topic been neglected by the ministers of the gospel ; and, while we admire the ingenuity and the beauty with which some of the heathen sages
have descanted on the virtues and the solace of age, we feel the peculiar advantage which the Christian teacher hath in his counsels, arising from the examples of the Bible, the extent of its morality, the riches of its grace, and the brightness of its hopes. Mr Orton's Discourses to the Aged are marked by practical good sense and enlightened piety; and the Sermons of the late Dr Lawson discover that acquaintance with the Scriptures, and that simplicity, mingling with holy wisdom, by which that venerable man was distinguished. But in this field there is ample scope for new labourers; and it was the Author's impression that there were various characters, promises, and ad
monitions in the Bible, as well fitted for the benefit of the old as any which had been handled ; and that, on subjects already discussed, experience and study might furnish every reflecting man with new illustrations. It was not his object to write a formal treatise on the duties and the consolations of the aged ; nor has he attempted to specify all that might be necessary or useful to them.
He has selected such topics as appeared most suitable, and has endeavoured to present these in the mode which he thought would be most interesting. He has tried to combine encouragement with duty, to warn against the evils by which old age is imbittered, and to excite to those exercises by which it is adorned and blessed. He is aware that there is a minuteness in illustration not common in sermons; but he trusts it will not be considered as of the cast which degrades holy admonition, or as offensive to a refined taste. To be useful there must, in such discourses, be a particularity in our counsels and lessons. General declamation is never applied to himself by any individual.
If, by these discourses, God shall be pleased to brighten to any old man the evening of life, to make him more useful in his narrowing circle, more amiable to those whose esteem and respect are of so much importance to his comfort, more detached from the world in spite of increasing efforts to strengthen its cords, and more fit for eternity, into which he is about to enter, he will rejoice in the kindness of that mercy which blesses the humblest efforts of the willing mind for his people's good.
FALKIRK, Dec. 18th, 1826.
DUTIES AND CONSOLATIONS OF THE AGED.
THE MINISTER'S CHARGE TO THE AGED.
Titus ii. 1-5. Speak thou the things which become
sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, températe, sound in faith, in charity, and patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
How valuable to Timothy and Titus were the counsels of a monitor so wise, so holy, and so affectionate as Paul! The Christian ministry is an office which, in all circumstances, is arduous; but it was peculiarly so in the primitive church, from the previous habits of the converts from the practices which prevailed around