The mouth of the just brings forth wisdom: but the fraudulent tongue shall be cut out.
I. WHO MAY PROPERLY BE CALLED OLD PEOPLE? Old and young are relative terms, and admit of different significations. Children always think their parents are old. They are old who have grey hairs here and there upon them. The distinction in ages has always been considered as an important distinction by all mankind, who have marked it by some peculiar symptoms or visible effects which the different periods of life produce on the body or on the mind. God leaves it to every individual to judge for himself when the precepts to the young bind him, and when the precepts to the old bind him. Every one should judge justly.
II. WHAT IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE PIETY OF OLD PEOPLE? It is called their righteousness. Righteousness is often used in Scripture to denote holiness in heart and life. Righteousness is true holiness, which is the moral excellence of all moral beings, and the essence of all vital piety in mankind. The piety of old people implies two things.
1. Their cordial belief in the great truths of the gospel. All true piety is founded on the knowledge, the belief, and the love of the great and peculiar truths of the gospel.
2. The practice of the duties, as well as the belief of the doctrines, of the gospel. It is generally true that aged Christians have lived a long time in the way of holiness and obedience to the Divine commands. The promises of the gospel are expressly made to those who overcome, to those who continue in well-doing, and to those who endure unto the end. Internal piety always produces external obedience to the precepts of the gospel. Though the oldest Christians never arrive at sinless perfection in this life, yet they generally grow in grace as they grow in years. Though the piety of the young and that of the old are essentially alike, yet the piety of the aged has a specific and superior excellence.
III. IN WHAT RESPECTS IS THE PIETY OF THE AGED THEIR PECULIAR ORNAMENT? Piety adorns the hoary head, and spreads a peculiar beauty over the aged.
1. Their piety appears with peculiar purity. Through the sanctified discipline of a life-experience. Aged piety is tried, purified, refined piety.
2. Their piety hides the infirmities and imperfections which are peculiar to their age. They often become more amiable in their age than they were in their full vigour and activity.
3. Their piety renders them useful, when they would otherwise be useless and burdensome to the world. They are still capable of serving God and their generation, by their examples, their instructions, their admonitions, and their prayers. The pious examples and instructions of aged parents are often tenfold more valuable to their families than all the wealth and respectability they can bestow upon them.
4. Their piety makes them happy in themselves and pleasant to others.Improvement.
1. There are many more old people than are usually reckoned such.
2. They ought always to be treated with respect.
3. The want of piety is a peculiar blemish in the character of the aged.
4. Aged saints have great reason to be thankful for what God has done for them.
(N. Emmons, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.