The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Long life all men desire: and yet to most no part of life seems to have much happiness in it; and that part least of all, to which living long brings them. And yet, if life is a blessing, long life must be a greater blessing. Old age may be both honourable and happy.
I. WHAT ASSISTANCE VIRTUE AND PIETY CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS MAKING OLD AGE HONOURABLE AND HAPPY.
1. Laying proper foundations in the former part. Neglect of right conduct in our early years is the main reason that our advanced ones are despicable and miserable. See the influence of youthful irregularities; idle expenses; neglect of attaining knowledge; early indulgence of ill-temper; forgetting the Creator in the days of youth. "Wisdom is the grey hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age."
2. Directing to proper behaviour when old age comes. Avoiding the faults to which men are then peculiarly subject. Such are artfulness and insensibility, selfishness and avarice. A mean and penurious behaviour. Sparing and accumulating, without reason or use, is both sin and folly. Another fault is, giving improperly and inequitably what they give, whether in their lives or at their deaths. The aged are sometimes imposed upon by artful people, who supplant those naturally dependent on them. Or they let little piques and preferences influence them, contrary to the justest motives and their own former kind intentions.Another danger of the aged is ill-temper. Sometimes a consequence of loss of strength, and bodily pain.
1. The aged should therefore anxiously endeavour to preserve a composed and even mind.
2. To practise the duties to which they are peculiarly bound. One is serious reflection on their past conduct, accompanied with earnest endeavours to undo, as far as they can, whatever they have done amiss, and rectify the errors of their busier and warmer days. The more piously and virtuously men have lived, the less necessity will they have in their old age for so minute a review of their ways; but then they will receive the greatest, the most seasonable comfort from it. Another duty is that of religious exercises and contemplations. Another duty is to imprint, on those who come within the sphere of their influence, the same right sentiments of life and conduct which they have acquired for themselves.
II. THE DIRECTIONS WHICH VIRTUE AND RELIGION FURNISH ARE EFFECTUAL TO THE DESIRED END. As long as persons in years can enjoy anything, the regard paid by those about them to their established character must support and revive them to a great degree. Those who have proceeded so far in life with innocence must feel from it the highest joy; they who have truly repented cannot fail to be sensible of much consolation. Recollection of their life associations and experiences must be a fruitful source of improving amusement to them, and relating them an acceptable entertainment and instruction to others.
Parallel VersesKJV: The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.