Ecclesiastes 12:2
before the sunlight, moon, and stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain,
Sermons
Sorrow UnspeakableEcclesiastes 12:2
An Old Sermon for Young HearersC. S. Robinson, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Days of YouthHomilistEcclesiastes 12:1-7
Early PietyW. Barrow, LL. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Human LifeHomilistEcclesiastes 12:1-7
On the Advantages of an Early PietyJ. Tillotson, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Preparation for Old AgeH. W. Beecher.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Remember Thy CreatorW. Whale.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Remembering GodG. A. Gordon.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Creator RememberedD. J. Burrell, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Creator RememberedH. M. Booth, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Creator RememberedMonday Club SermonsEcclesiastes 12:1-7
The Days of Thy YouthJ. P. Chown.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Duty and Advantages of Early PietyJ. Jortin, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Irreligious YouthS. Martin.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Remembrance of Our CreatorChristian ObserverEcclesiastes 12:1-7
The Warning not to Forget GodR. Newton, D. D.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
The Young Man's TaskH. Smith.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Young Persons Exhorted to Remember Their CreatorSketches of Four Hundred SermonsEcclesiastes 12:1-7
Youthful Piety: Described and InculcatedW. Mudge, B. A.Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Old Age and DeathD. Thomas Ecclesiastes 12:2-7
By a natural transition, a striking antithesis, youth suggests to the mind of the Preacher the condition and the solemn lessons of old age. How appropriately does a treatise, dealing so fully with the occupations, the illusions, the trials, and the moral significance of human life, draw to a close by referring expressly to the earlier and the later periods by which that life is bounded!

I. THE BODILY SYMPTOMS OF AGE. These are, indeed, familiar to every observer, and are described with a picturesqueness and poetical beauty which must appeal to every reader of this passage. It is enough to remark that the decay of bodily power, and the gradual enfeeblement of the several senses, are among the usual accompaniments of advancing years.

II. THE MENTAL SYMPTOMS OF AGE. Reference is naturally made especially to the effect of bodily enfeeblement and infirmity upon the human emotions.

1. The emotions of desire and aspiration are dulled.

2. The emotions of apprehension, self-distrust, and fear increase.

III. THE NATURAL TERMINATION OF OLD AGE. There is no doubt that there are old persons of a sanguine temperament who seem unable to realize the fact that they are approaching the end of their earthly course. Yet it does not admit of doubt that the several indications of senility described in these verses are reminders of the end, are premonitions of the dissolution of the body, and of the entering upon a new and altogether different state of being.

IV. THE OPPORTUNITIES AND SERVICES OF AGE.

1. There is scope for the exercise of patience under growing infirmities.

2. There is a call to the acquisition and display of that wisdom which the experience of long years is particularly fitted to cultivate.

3. The aged are especially bound to offer to the young an example of cheerful obedience, and to encourage them to a life of piety and usefulness.

V. THE CONSOLATIONS OF AGE. Cicero, in a well-known treatise of great beauty, has set forth the peculiar advantages and pleasures which belong to the latest stage of human life. The Christian is at liberty to comfort himself by meditating upon such natural blessings as "accompany old age," but he has far fuller and richer sources of consolation open to him.

1. There is the happy retrospect of a life filled with instances of God's compassion, forbearance, and loving-kindness.

2. And there is the bright anticipation of eternal blessedness. This is his peculiar prerogative. As the outer man perisheth, the inner man is renewed day by day. The earthly tent is gradually but surely taken down, and this process suggests that he should look forward with calm confidence and hope to his speedy occupation of the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." - T.







The clouds return after the rain.
Coming home from the burial of his little Agnes, the late Nehemiah Adams, D.D., of Boston, drew out of his pocket the ribbon-tied key of her casket. "I thought for a few minutes that I should lose my reason," he writes. "The clouds returned after the rain," and they were very dark and distressing. And who has not had similar experiences! And sometimes they are exquisitely painful as well as sorrowful, as when conscience reproaches us for unkindness, or remissness, or for hasty words and cruel alienation, or neglect of duty, as we hang over the coffin of a husband or wife, or parent or child, or friend, or come back from the new-made grave. The unnamed, unspeakable agony of a reproving conscience, when all redress or confession is impossible, is harder to bear than the blow itself. The after-cloud has no "silver lining": it is murky, dismal, and almost unbearable, for it abides, and there is no relief from it. Let us be careful in life to give no occasion for such return of the clouds after the rain.

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