That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
One of the uses of the aged is to keep our theology sweet. I should be very much afraid for evangelical doctrine if there were none but young men in the Church. Youth loves to speculate. Old age loves to rest in ascertained realities. Youth is destructive. You have seen a boy when he has got a gun. He goes popping at everything — sparrows, cats, barn doors. He can hardly resist levelling even at his own father. So, when a young man becomes conscious of the possession of reason, he is for exercising it upon everything. Nothing is so sacred as to be beyond the reach of this destructive weapon, and truths are often in danger of being swept away along with the falsities. But, on the other hand, old age is proverbially conservative, and so the needful counteractive is supplied. A man may have gone very wide in his young days, but, as a rule, he comes round again to the old starting point — comes home to the old centre when he is verging upon threescore years and ten. A soul that is consciously on the brink of eternity cannot do with the shallow fallacies that once passed muster as excellent substitutes for the old faith. It finds that, after all, the old gospel is the thing it wants. The late learned Dr. Duncan said to a student, "I do not forbid you to speculate. I like speculation. I have speculated a great deal during my life, but now that I am turning an old man, I am in love with the facts." Then he added in a quasi-humorous tone, "Now that I'm an auld man, I have just come back to the theology of the old wives and the bairns. I like that." This is a useful element in the Church. Thank God for the aged and for their tenacious grasp of the essential verities of the gospel.
Parallel VersesKJV: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.