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  1. Lack of retirement savings and help with chores may lead more to consider renting out extra space
  2. the-home-beyond-or-a-happy-old-age-primary-source-edition-by-ashton-oxenden-pape
  3. ‘Elderly’ No More
  4. The home beyond, or, A happy old age [microform]

True it is, that our poor hearts will ever be 'cleaving to the dust. But oh, struggle against this. Pray against it. Ask God continually to be drawing your mind heavenward, and to enable you to 'set your affections on things above. Bear testimony to His goodness and faithfulness. And recommend others to trust Him without a doubt, and to give their whole hearts to Him. Try and set a good example to others. We should all wish to be useful in the world.

But now that you are grown old, you feel perhaps that your time for usefulness is past. Satan may whisper, 'You are too old to be useful now! You may do something still. It is true that you cannot labor for your family as you once did. You cannot go here and there to help those who need your assistance. But you may be very useful; yes, useful even now — useful if you are rich , and useful too if you are poor.

As you sit by your fireside, you may speak Christian words, and you may show by your conduct and temper — the blessed effects that salvation has upon your heart. You may, by your prayers and praises, by your patience and perseverance, by your watching and waiting — glorify God. A Christian aged man or woman may thus be a great blessing to the house and place in which he is living. He may spread a feeling of contentment around him.

He may check many a bad word, and soften down many a quarrelsome spirit. He may show forth so clearly the power of grace in his own conduct , that he may thereby lead others to seek it, and pray for it themselves. Without speaking much, or doing much — you may honor God by your Christian conduct; and thus your light may so shine before men, that they may glorify Him. We know that a lovely picture in a room is a pleasant thing to gaze upon; we constantly turn to it with pleasure. And what picture is there more beautiful than that of an aged Christian — old in years, and ripe in grace?

Yes, remember always you may do much by your example. This will be even more useful even than your words. For your words may be mistaken — but your life cannot be; it must and will speak. Paul reminded the Corinthians of this, when he said, 'You show that you are the epistles of Christ , known and read by everybody!

These are some of the duties which belong to aged people. Dear reader, neglect them not, try to fulfill them. It will be for your own happiness — and for the good of others. Thus you will be 'bearing fruit in old age. Whatever he does prospers! Satan tempts every one of us. Who is there that has not felt his power? And oh, how craftily does he apply his temptations! He suits them exactly to our stations and ages.

He has some temptations for the rich , others for the poor ; some for the young , and others for the aged. He knows our weak points — and there he assaults us! So you must not be surprised if you have your temptations, and perhaps sore ones too. You may be one of God's dearest children — and yet be tempted. Was not Joseph tempted, and David , and Paul? And was not even Jesus , the sinless Savior, tempted by Satan?

Neither, again, be angry with yourself because you are thus tried. It is no sin to be tempted. It is only when we yield to temptation, instead of resisting it — that offends God. It is the falling into sin that grieves and offends Him — not the mere being tempted by sin. When you find yourself tempted to any wrong feeling, or to do anything sinful, I will tell you how to act. Don't give yourself up to the temptation — but strive resolutely against it. And, as you have but little strength of your own — fly unto the Strong One, God for help.

Turn at once to Him. Satan is strong; but there is a Stronger One than he. Jesus knows both Satan's power — and your weakness ; and, as 'He himself has suffered, being tempted — he is able to help those who are tempted. He can throw His shelter around you, and protect you from all harm. A deadness and dullness of soul is very apt to come over an aged person.

Your feelings are not as lively and strong as they once were. Your affections are somewhat blunted. There was a time when a powerful sermon or a striking book moved you, and the tear started in your eye. The love of Jesus made your heart to glow. But perhaps this warmth and tenderness of spirit is in a measure gone. Now, you have need to be on your guard on this point. Take care that you do not settle down into a cold and easy frame of mind. Take care that your faith does not wither, and your love grow dull. It will do so — if you are not very watchful.

Pray constantly that God may touch your heart, and enliven it. Especially pray that you may have a bright view of that gracious Savior, who has done so much for you. Very often, too, aged people give way to a peevish and irritable temper. They allow little things to ruffle them and annoy them. This is wrong, and it very much interferes with their happiness. When you yourself have indulged in this spirit — what has been the consequence?

Why, you have felt thoroughly uncomfortable afterwards, and you have wished that you had more command over yourself. Watch against it then. I know that it is one of the temptations to Which old age is especially liable. But God can strengthen you against it. He can enable you to overcome it — instead of its overcoming you. He can give you a happy, contented, peaceful frame of mind; and enable you to take all the little roughnesses of life — with calmness and evenness of temper. Thus will your latter days be happy, instead of miserable; and you will enjoy a peace within, which nothing can rob you of!

Again there is such a thing as weariness of living , which it is very wrong to foster.

Lack of retirement savings and help with chores may lead more to consider renting out extra space

At the end of sixty or seventy years, a person often feels a little tired of this world. He is weary of its trials. He has tasted of its disappointments. He wishes to get away from them. A suffering body too perhaps weighs him down. And he is ready to cry out with David, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove! But this is not a holy wish.

We ought cheerfully to bear all that our Heavenly Father sees it good for us to bear. Even our greatest sufferings — should be willingly endured for His sake. Christ could say in the very midst of His agony, 'The cup which my Father has given me — shall I not drink it? It was in a moment of disappointment and distrust — that they breathed the unholy prayer. How different were Paul's feelings when he expressed a 'desire to depart. He desired to depart for a far different reason. It was because he wished to be with Christ. He loved his Savior, and longed to be in His presence!

May God give us the same holy longing! And may we at the same time be content to remain here — just so long as He in His wisdom and love sees fit. My dear friend, you see there are certain temptations to which in your old age you are especially liable. I have mentioned three — namely, deadness of soul , peevishness , and unwillingness to bear the sufferings of this life.

But there are others which I have not noticed. Now, look well into your heart and think what is the temptation to which you are most inclined to yield. And then ask God to set you free from it, and to strengthen you. That was a comforting word which our Lord spoke to Peter, 'Satan has desired to have you, and sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not. Satan is a mighty tempter ; but you have also an almighty Protector. Rest in His promise; trust in His strength; and no power on earth or in hell can ever harm you! This present life, is a life of trials! There are none who are altogether free from them!

We must expect them, and be ready to meet them when they come. Sometimes they cluster so thickly around us, that it needs a stout heart and much grace — to bear them meekly, and to pass through them unhurt. Let us talk over those trials which belong to old age ; and perhaps we shall find ourselves all the better for saying a few words about them. Loss of strength is a great trial to an old man or woman. It is painful to feel that you cannot do many things now — which you once did so easily. To be busy and happy — was once perhaps your greatest enjoyment. But now your old limbs can hardly carry you; and many of the routine tasks of life are a burden to you.

But let not this distress you. It is your portion, and God has so ordered it. And though 'the outer man decays,' He can strengthen you in your soul, so that the 'inner man is renewed day by day. And is there not mercy in your very feebleness? For it reminds you constantly that your life is drawing to a close, while a voice from heaven whispers to you that 'there remains a rest for the people of God! Loss of memory is another great trial, which generally accompanies old age. I dare say you can remember pretty well what happened years ago; but what happened yesterday — you entirely forget.

What you read is soon lost; it passes away like letters written on the sand. You hear a sermon — and what your minister said is all gone an hour after; even the very text is forgotten! It may be, that you are sometimes vexed with yourself for this; and you even fear that God may be angry with you. But not so! He is no hard master, He 'does not reap — where He has not sown. He knows very well — the weakness of your frame, and 'remembers that you are but dust. Never mind then, your declining memory.

God will not call you to account for that. The great thing is to have your heart right with God. Entreat Him to cleanse and purify that by His Holy Spirit — and then all will be well. There is a third loss which aged people often have to mourn over, and that is the loss of dear friends and family members.

One after another drops off into the grave — and they find themselves left behind like a solitary tree in the wilderness. Their dearest children have perhaps been taken from them; and it may be a lonely widowhood is their portion. Ah, there is something truly sad in all this. It is sad indeed, to see an aged one bereft of those who once clung to him with fond affection — and now left all alone.

But, my dear friend, remember this: you will never be alone — if God is your God. Christ is the Friend, the Brother, the Husband of His people! Others may forsake you — but He never will. You may depend on His love — it will not fail you. He is with you now — and He will never leave nor forsake you. If you can truly say, 'The Lord is my Shepherd;' then you may certainly add, 'Therefore I shall not want. Again, aged people often feel that they are only a trouble to others. This is a heavy trial to some. But why should it be so? It is the will of God that in infancy and old age — we would need others for help.

And surely a son or a daughter ought to feel it not only a sacred duty — but also a pleasure, to supply the needs of an aged parent. And I am sure, where the heart is right, it will be done with real cheerfulness and goodwill. There is one more trial which I will mention — the feeling of not being able to earn one's own livelihood. If a person has honestly supported himself and his family during a long life, he does not like to feel that he must be indebted to others in his latter days.

Perhaps this is the case with you. Perhaps you laid aside some money in the days of your strength, and looked forward to maintaining yourself in old age. But you lent your money to a friend, and he has made off with it; or you had a long illness, and all your savings were spent during that time. And now you are forced to depend on the kindness of friends and family.

Well, if such is the case, you have no cause to blame yourself, and there is no disgrace whatever in being now a pensioner on others. Instead of such a feeling — you may well be thankful that there are ways in which you can be helped in the hour of your need. Look upon those who assist you — as sent by your Heavenly Father! He it is who graciously provides means for supplying your necessities. He raises up friends for you. He puts it into their hearts — to help you.

He is the great Fountain from whence all your blessings flow. Receive then every gift — as from God. Acknowledge His hand in it; and depend on Him from day to day for all you need. I believe that, if we thus trust God — we shall never be disappointed. We may sometimes be at our wits end. There may be but a little meal in our barrel , and but a few drops of oil in our cruse; but let us remember that word which comforted Abraham of old, 'Jehovah-jireh' — The Lord will provide! He who feeds the ravens — will feed you. He cares for His people, and will never let them starve. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread!

I have mentioned some of your trials. And I dare say there are many more — many which the world knows nothing about, and which none will ever know but yourself. But however thick they fall around you, and however heavily they press upon you — you have only to carry them to God, and He will lighten your load, and make it easy to bear.

He is your remedy. He has given you His promise, 'Cast your burden upon the Lord — and He will sustain you. He who has so often laid you as a tender lamb in His bosom — will carry you now that you are old. He will be with you amidst all your infirmities. He will not only bring you to Jordan — but will carry you over it , and conduct you safely into the Promised Land! And then, too, remember that your trials are good for you.

If we had none, we would be like a wild bull caught in a net; we would have our own way too much, and never learn submission to our Father's will. Our Lord suffered greatly — and shall not we? Suffering was His daily portion when on earth — let us not wish to escape it. As it is — we are tied and bound to this world far too much!

We love it too well. And how would it be with us — if we met with no trials here on earth? We would be still less disposed than we now are — to look for another resting place above! Think too how light our trials are — compared with the Savior's. His was a storm of suffering; ours but a few drops. Think also, for how short a time do our troubles, even the severest of them, last! They are 'but for a moment! In heaven we shall thank God for them, for we shall then see how needful they were for us!

Cheer up then, my fellow-Christian! Bear these trials of yours patiently, meekly, thankfully. Look upon them as the sick man does upon the remedies which are sent to do him good. Look upon them as the traveler does upon the rough rocks which serve as steps to bring him to his father's house. Turn your trials into means of grace. Let them not be hindrances to you — but helps , on your way to heaven.

Ask God to change them into blessings , and to make them useful to you. And just as, when Noah was in the ark, every wave which swelled only bore him up higher and higher towards heaven — so may every trial raise your soul above the world, and bring you nearer and nearer to God. A happy old age! Is such a thing possible? Do we ever meet with an old, worn out person — who is really happy? Is the evening of life ever bright and sunny? Yes, such a thing is quite possible; and we now and then meet with a fine specimen of it!

Though the body is decayed by time, though the limbs are feeble and the mind is somewhat weakened too — yet still there may be a calm joy within, and a deep peace which time can never wear out. Dear friend — do you wish to be happy? I know you do; for everyone is a seeker after happiness; though many look for it in the wrong direction, and therefore never find it. Shall I tell you how and where to find happiness? The world cannot give it to you. It holds out large promises — but it has no peace to bestow. Friends cannot give it to you.

It is a blessing to have kind friends, and to be surrounded by those who love us; but this cannot give peace to the conscience. Money cannot give it to you. It is well to have enough, and something to spare. And I dare say, you often long to be a little richer than you now are. But money cannot drive away worry. It cannot bring joy to the heart. What then is it, which will make us truly happy? The grace of God is the one great thing which can bring peace to the soul. Oh, what a happiness to know that He is your Father and your Friend! To be able to look up and feel that He is yours, and you are His — this is happiness!

You have sinned — perhaps very long and very greatly. But remember, 'God is love' to His redeemed children. He is full of mercy, and ready to forgive. the-home-beyond-or-a-happy-old-age-primary-source-edition-by-ashton-oxenden-pape

He has sent His dear Son to save you. And He will receive every penitent sinner who comes to Him through Christ, looking to His precious blood to save Him. Yes, dear friend, you may be very happy — happier in your old age, than you have ever been before. God can give you happiness; and He will give it to you if you cast yourself on Him, and take Him as your portion. Now, go to God and ask Him to show you your sins, and to pardon them all for Jesus' sake.

Oh, seek Him in earnest prayer, and never rest until you have found Him. Pray for the Holy Spirit. Entreat Him to come into your dark soul and enlighten it. Beseech Him to change your evil heart — to take away all that is wicked in it, and to fill it with what is holy and good.

Ask Him to show Christ to you, and to enable you to believe in Him. Ask Him to lead you in that blessed path of holiness, which He points out for His people. Then you will be happy.

‘Elderly’ No More

Here is the grand secret of all real peace. Here is rest for the weary soul — joy for those who have never tasted it before. Try and take a bright view of everything. Look at things on their sunny side. Do not dwell much on your pains and aches, your troubles and infirmities, your trials and misfortunes. They may be very great; but they will not grow lighter by always harping upon them! Rather love to dwell on your many blessings — and your many mercies. You will say, perhaps, 'I cannot help thinking of my troubles!

A dull, complaining spirit grows upon people sometimes without their knowing it. Do try and check it — or it will make your days miserable, and displeasing to God. Determine to be content with your lot — whatever it is. Paul says, 'I have learned' ah! We ought to be contented, and we shall be contented — if we are in the habit of seeing God in everything, and living upon Him day by day.

Oh, for a spirit of true thankfulness! Oh, for a heart to praise the Lord, A heart from sin set free, A heart that's sprinkled with the blood, So freely shed for me! Jane Down was a woman of about sixty-five. She was well-off in the world, having much money of her own.

I never went to see her, that she did not find something to complain of. Either her head ached; or her knee troubled her; or somebody had been speaking against her; or the weather was too hot — or too cold. You could at once see that she had not found out the secret of true happiness.

She was a constant trouble to herself — and a weariness to her friends! Widow Kingston lived near her. She was supported partly by her son, and partly by parish dole. But her cottage was as clean and tidy as Jane Down's, though she had not half as many things in it. She was sure to welcome you with a smile, if you went to see her.

She was sure to say something pleasant; and you felt afterwards that it did you good to pay her a visit. She had not much of this world's good things; but she possessed Christ. She loved her Savior, and it was her greatest joy to speak of His goodness. There was a calm peace in that poor widow's heart, which nothing could rob her of.

Having Christ — she had all! What made the difference between these two old people? What made the one contented and happy — while the other was sour, and discontented, and miserable? It was grace that made them to differ. The one was under the influence of the Holy Spirit — the other was destitute of His indwelling power. The one knew Christ and loved Him — to the other He was a stranger. Try and live above the world. A ship that is 'homeward bound' cares little for the winds and waves — just so long as it sails on speedily towards the desired harbor.

Heaven is the peaceful Harbor which you wish to reach. Why then think so much about the storms and tempests, which buffet you on your way? They will soon be over. Face them manfully. Take them patiently. Bear them meekly. Keep your eye ever fixed on Christ and Eternity!

And then the troubles of this present world — will not greatly trouble you. Oh, that Christ may give you, dear reader, His own peace — that peace which He promised to His people, when He said, 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid! Possibly you may have met with a very nice tract, called 'The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. But there was one sort of knowledge , of which he had a great deal.

And there was one kind of happiness which he enjoyed more than most men. He was one who feared and loved God, and the Holy Scriptures were his delight. He read them daily, and his soul was greatly refreshed and comforted by them. They were 'more to him than his necessary food. Some were astonished at his knowledge.

They wondered how one who had so little learning — could know so much. Where did it come from? How was it, that he, a poor unschooled man, had so much wisdom? He gleaned it all from the Word of God. That Word was brought home to his heart by the Holy Spirit, and it taught him much. And what has the Word of God done for you? Has it brought life and comfort to your soul? You have a Bible, I dare say, and often read it.

But do you enjoy it? Is it precious to your soul? Had you rather give up every other book, than give up your Bible? Is it your constant companion? Do you feel, as you read it, that it is as if God was speaking by it to your soul? Two people may read their Bibles very differently. One may read down a chapter or two every day, as regularly as the clock strikes. He may get through a vast deal of Scripture in the course of the year. The Sacred Volume may often be seen in his hand. And yet he may be none the better for his reading.

His mind may be as dark as ever, and his hopes of heaven as dim and cloudy. With all his reading — he may never receive God's truth into his soul. He may never know Christ as his Savior. Another may study the Bible with far greater profit. He may not be a learned man, or have had much schooling. He may find a difficulty in making out some of the hard words he meets with. But he is a humble man; and so he looks up to God for His teaching.

He never opens the Holy Volume without breathing a prayer — a secret, silent prayer, it may be, within his own heart — a prayer that the Holy Spirit may open his eyes, and help him to understand and feel the truths he reads. Thus the Word falls like seed upon the open furrow. It does not remain on the surface — but sinks down into his very soul. It takes root there. It instructs him. It brings joy and peace to his heart.

It makes him 'wise unto salvation. Let the Bible be your constant study. It is God's Word — and it is therefore the best of books. It tells you the way to be saved; therefore it is most precious. It speaks to you of your Savior and your eternal home; and therefore it should be most sweet to you. I would recommend you to get a good large Bible with a clear print. And when you have got it — use it. Do not put it aside on the shelf, and be afraid to use it for fear of its getting soiled.

But read it very often, so that you may become well acquainted with its blessed truths. And a happy thing it is, if you can say with one of old, 'Your word is sweet to my taste; it is sweeter than honey to my mouth! I dare say you will find, in the course of your reading — much that you do not understand. Do not let this trouble you. There are many passages in God's Word, which even the most learned find it difficult to explain.

God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways — so it is no wonder that we cannot understand everything. I have heard of an aged Christian who was once asked — 'How is it that you have so good a knowledge of your Bible? And presently I come to some passage which explains the one I could not understand.

Thus I am able to take out one marker after another. And the consequence is, there are but few places which cause me much difficulty. Try this plan, and I think you will find it helpful. There are difficulties in God's Word; but Scripture will often explain Scripture. And, after all, ought we not to be very thankful that there is so much that we can understand — so much that we can receive for the life and nourishment of our souls!

One thing is very necessary, and that is, to read the Bible with prayer. Our minds are dark and ignorant, and we need enlightening. Now, even if we had a friend always at our elbow, ready to explain to us every passage — we would still need something more. For man cannot make the blind eye to see. This is God's work.

He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness — He who said, 'Let there be light, and there was light' — He must shine into our hearts! Then, ask for His enlightening grace. Pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit may come and enlighten your mind and heart. He is the teacher that we need; for 'who teaches like Him? Whenever you open the Bible then, remember to ask God to open your heart. Put up some such short and simple prayer as this: 'O Lord, I am blind and ignorant; do enlighten me. There are few prayers more fitting for this purpose, than that short but beautiful Collect which we have in our Prayer-books.

Let us see that we understand it:. You see there is a great deal in this Prayer, and it is very suitable to our needs. But it matters not whether you use the Collect I have mentioned, or any other suitable words — so long as you earnestly pray for God's teaching and blessing. Only read the Bible in a prayerful, humble, childlike spirit — and I am sure you will not read it in vain. You will find there a treasure — which will enrich and comfort your soul day by day!

There was a time when the Bible was a scarce and costly book — so that few could own one. Now, thank God, it can be purchased by the poorest person, and we may each of us have a copy of it which we can call our own. May we prize it as our dearest possession, and be very thankful to God for giving us so rich a gift! Holy Bible! Book Divine! Precious treasure, you are mine! Mine, to tell me whence I came; Mine, to teach me what I am!

Mine, to chide me when I rove; Mine, to show a Savior's love! Mine are you to guide my feet; Mine, to judge, condemn, acquit! Mine, to comfort in distress, If the Holy Spirit bless; Mine, to show by living faith, Man can triumph over death! Mine to tell of joys to come, And the rebel sinner's doom!

O you precious book divine! The House of God has special charms for the Christian in his old age. There is a calm, quiet, soul-refreshing atmosphere there, which is peculiarly sweet to one who longs for rest. You can leave the noise and turmoil of the world, with all its vanities and sins — and there meet your God, and hold sweet fellowship with Him.

The Lord is everywhere. He is 'about our path, and about our bed. There we feel His nearness, and we are sometimes ready to exclaim, as Jacob did at Bethel, 'Surely the Lord is in this place; this is none other but the house of God , and this is the gate of heaven!

Good old Eli loved the Lord's House. Many a happy and blessed hour he spent in those sacred courts. David too rejoiced to be there: 'A day in your courts is better than a thousand spent elsewhere. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God — than dwell in the tents of wickedness. There it was that he saw the Savior, whom he so greatly longed to behold.

And this made him quite willing to die, 'Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace, according to your Word; for my eyes have seen your salvation. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. It seemed like a little heaven below. The voice of prayer and praise was music in her ears. Well, dear friend, I hope you can say of the courts of the Lord, 'I love to be there. There I have spent my happiest moments. There I have found a peace, which the world can never rob me of.

The home beyond, or, A happy old age [microform]

There I have often had my heart warmed with love to Christ and to His people. There I have oftentimes gone with a heavy burden — but I have left it behind me, and come away lightened. Dear is to me the Sabbath morn, The village bells, the pastor's voice; These oft have found my heart forlorn, And these have bid my heart rejoice. And dear to me the loud Amen , Which echoes through the blest abode, Which swells, and sinks, and swells again, Dies on the walls — but lives to God.

Oh, when the world , with iron hand, Would bind me in its six days' chain, Thus burst, O Lord, the strong man's band, And let my spirit loose again! But it is not every kind of church-going that does us good. Many a young person, and many an old one too — goes there without getting much profit. Let me offer you then a few friendly directions. Always go to God's House expecting a blessing. Look out for it, and specially ask for it. Go in a devout spirit. Before you leave your home, kneel down for a moment or two and beg of the Lord to prepare your heart by His Holy Spirit, and enable you to worship Him as you ought.

When there, enter with all your heart into the service. During the prayers, join earnestly with your fellow-worshipers. It is not enough to sit quietly while your minister sends up his petitions to heaven; but pray the prayers yourself. Yes, pray them with all your soul. When the verses are read out of God's Word — listen with your whole attention. It may be you have often heard those chapters before, or read them yourself; but they contain precious truths, which are always new to the hearing ear and the understanding heart.

During the sermon — be a humble listener. You should be as a little child — feeling that your knowledge is but small, and that you have much to learn. You should be like a hungry man — who comes to be fed, seeking to get your soul nourished by the bread of life. You should be like the thirsty soil — which waits to drink in the falling shower. If we all heard in this way — who can tell what blessings would flow from every service, and how many would come away from this ordinance of God filled and refreshed!

Perhaps you are growing deaf — and can only pick up a part of what is said by the preacher. Perhaps too your memory fails you — when you try to gather up what you have heard. Still, you can carry away something ; and you will be thankful for that something, if you feel that it is a part of God's own message. When you come home from church — do not forget the service in which you have been engaging. Converse about it, if you have an opportunity. Get out your Bible, and find the text; and then talk over any part of the sermon which you can remember.

This is the way to refresh your memory, and to lay up a store of spiritual knowledge. When Holy Communion is administered — do not fail to receive it. Be thankful when your Communion Sundays come around, and rejoice in the opportunity of feeding on the body and blood of Christ. Some aged people 'take the Sacrament,' as they call it, as a mere matter of form. They come to the Lord's Table because there is something respectable in doing so, or because their minister expects to see them there. But if they only come for this reason, it is to them but a poor, cold, dry, unmeaning service; and, instead of pleasing God, they only offend Him!

But I trust that you, my dear friend, are not one of these formal communicants. I trust that you come to this blessed ordinance under a deep feeling of your own sinfulness and unworthiness, and desire to draw near to Christ with humble and living faith. You come, not because you are worthy to come — but because you feel your need of strength and grace. You come to Jesus to be pardoned and healed, and to receive fresh life from Him. But you have reason to love it even more than they did.

For they lived only in old Jewish days. The light was but very dim then. But now it shines brightly and clearly upon us. Christ has come; and He has plainly set before us as 'the way, the truth, and the life. Then love the House of God. Go there as often as the bells of the sanctuary call you.

And remember your Savior's gracious promise; 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name — there am I in the midst of them. May your Sabbaths be more and more happy, as you draw nearer to that endless Sabbath which you hope to spend above! May your love for God's House, for God's Word, and God's people — be ever increasing, until you are called away to join the 'one family in heaven,' and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God!

Your earthly Sabbaths, Lord, I love, But there's a nobler rest above. Oh, that I might that rest attain, From sin, from sorrow, and from pain! There are times when we must be alone with God. There are times when the Christian needs to get away from others — and draw near to his Heavenly Father. Our Lord knew that this was needful for the well-being of our souls; and therefore He said, 'When you pray, enter into your closet , and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret.

Think how great your need is — both as regards your body and your soul.

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Have you not need of God's protecting care to keep you alive from day to day? Have you not need of His guiding hand to direct you in your path? Have you not need of His grace to keep you from falling into sin, and to strengthen your faith? Have you no bad habits to get rid of, and no bad tempers to subdue? Are there no friends, or neighbors, for whom you should intercede? Is there no work of Christ going on in the world, for which you should pray? Surely these are matters which you have great need to bring before God.

Think too how great are your sins. There are sins, committed long ago in the days of your youth, which you need to confess. And there are later sins — newly committed, perhaps — which lie heavy on your conscience; these too must be repented of — or you cannot be happy. Oh, how many things there are which we have left undone — how many that we have done wrongly — how many little sins, which we scarcely notice at the time — how many secret sins, which the world knows nothing of!

We must carry all these to the Cross — and entreat Christ to wash them away in His own blood. Think again how great are your mercies. You have cause to thank your Heavenly Father for all His past goodness to you, and for all His present gifts. Oh, how great they are — and how little you have deserved them! Why has He spared you so long? Why are you yet alive — when so many have been cut off? Has He not fed you, and clothed you — all your life long?

Has He not preserved you from ten thousand dangers? Has He not shielded you in the hour of temptation? Has He not kept you from sin — when others have fallen into it? A clergyman was once visiting a hospital. And as he went from bed to bed in the different wards, he came to an old man, who was apparently suffering much pain. He began to express his pity for this poor sufferer. I want but one thing. Yes, we have all of us great needs , great sins , and great mercies.

And this should bring us on our knees, and stir us up to prayer. But, my dear friend, do you know what prayer, real prayer, is? It is not the mere utterance of words. It is not the mere moving of the lips. It is not the mere repeating of a string of sentences, which we have learned by heart. Prayer is drawing near to our gracious Father, telling Him all about our soul, begging of Him to pardon all our sins, asking Him to give us all we need, and thanking Him for His daily mercies.

Prayer is speaking to God, though we cannot see Him. You need not offer up long prayers. God does not judge our prayers, by their length ; but He looks to our earnestness. You need not offer up learned prayers. The sighing of a contrite heart, and the words of a soul that feels — are enough for Him.

Perhaps you may find it best to speak to God in your own words, or perhaps you had rather use some prayer which you have learned. It matters little which — just so that your prayer comes from the heart. Let me now say a word as to when you should offer up prayer. Certainly morning and evening are the natural times for prayer.

I dare say you have always been accustomed to say your prayers then. We should begin and end the day upon our knees. We should do nothing in the morning — before we have solemnly put ourselves under God's care; and in the evening — one of our last acts should be to visit the throne of grace before we lie down to rest. Yes, these are the two best and most proper seasons for regular private prayer. But, dear friend, if you know the value of prayer — you will not be content with your morning and evening devotions.

Twelve or fourteen hours are a long while to go without speaking to your heavenly Friend. I would recommend you to have a little time for prayer in the middle of the day. Get a quiet five or ten minutes, if you can at noon. This was David's custom and Daniel's; and it is the custom of most of God's people. I strongly advise you to try it, if you have not already done so. When you come to die, you will not feel that you have prayed too much or too often. Your sorrow will then be, that although God was always ready to hear you — you were so backward in drawing near to Him. But does not Paul say, 'Pray without ceasing?

To be always praying! To be ever on our knees! To be at the throne of grace all day long! This is more than the holiest men — even Paul himself — could do. What he means is, that we should be always in a praying frame — that we should be ready to go to Him on all occasions — and that there should be a constant fellowship between us and our God. Find out more. Signs and symptoms Anxiety and depression symptoms are sometimes not all that obvious. Connections matter Being connected to others is important for our mental and physical wellbeing and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression.

Life starts at 60 For many people life begins at 60, but for others it can get harder, when it shouldn't have to. About our work Find out about how we work to promote positive mental health among older people in Australia. Talk about it How to start a conversation with an older person you're worried about.

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