You are to rise in the presence of the elderly, honor the aged, and fear your God. I am the LORD.
|Homage for Age||W. H. Jellie.||Leviticus 19:32|
|Old Age||Longfellow.||Leviticus 19:32|
|On the Relative Duties of the Young to the Aged||J. Hewlett, B. D.||Leviticus 19:32|
|Respect for the Aged||S. S. Chronicle||Leviticus 19:32|
|Reverence Due to Age||Leviticus 19:32|
|Reverence for Superiors||J. N. Norton, D. D.||Leviticus 19:32|
|Reverence of Old Age||Bp. E. Hopkins.||Leviticus 19:32|
|Reverence the Aged||A. A. Bonar.||Leviticus 19:32|
|Religion and Superstition||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 26-28, 30-32, 36, 37|
|Social Morality||R.M. Edgar ||Leviticus 19:1-37|
|Honour to Whom Honor||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:3, 32|
|The Holy Law in the Holy Life||R.A. Redford ||Leviticus 19:3-37|
|Considerateness||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:9, 10, 13, 14, 33, 34|
|Integrity||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:11, 13, 15, 16, 35, 36|
|The Fear of God||J.A. Macdonald ||Leviticus 19:29-37|
There are many adversaries, it is true; many drawbacks, hindrances, difficulties in the way of spiritual advancement. But there are these three powerful aids.
I. ONE SACRED DAY IN EVERY SEVEN. "Ye shall keep my sabbaths." God has wrested from an exacting, rapacious world one-seventh of human life, and given it to us for the culture of the soul, for spiritual growth, for sacred usefulness. The observance of the sabbath is an act of
(1) filial obedience to God, and
(2) wise regard for our own true welfare.
II. A PLACE FOR SOCIAL WORSHIP. "Ye shall reverence my sanctuary." We have all the advantage of social influences, the impulse which comes from association, to impress, to direct, to establish the soul in heavenly wisdom. We should worship regularly at the sanctuary, because
(1) we should not draw so near to God elsewhere, or gain in any other place such spiritual nourishment;
(2) worship there helps to devotion everywhere.
III. DEVOTEDNESS OF HEART TO X DIVINE BEING-. "I am the Lord." Not the ineffectual endeavour to fill and feed, to nourish and strengthen the soul with admirable abstractions; but holy thought and sanctifying feeling gathered round a Divine One: directed toward him who says, "Trust me, love me, follow me, exalt me." - C.
This is one of those duties which are derived from the instinctive feelings of the heart. The old man was honoured before the reasonableness of the obligation was considered or the benefit of it understood. From that sensibility with which the Almighty Father has impressed the human soul, men often feel before they think, and act before they have considered their motives of action. From the same source many of the most refined pleasures of life originate. Ask the contemplative man why he delights to view the fragments of antiquity — the hanging arch, the mutilated column, the moss-grown tower! Ask him why he sometimes watches the closing twilight, wanders through the gloomy valley, or listens with peculiar pleasure to the distant murmur of the sea! He will find it difficult, perhaps, to account for his sensations, to analyse his satisfactions, or to trace them to their cause; but he will tell you that he felt and enjoyed them before he knew why or considered wherefore. In the same manner those who can contemplate the hoary head without some prepossession of respect and tenderness want the essential requisite of nature for performing their duty to the aged as they ought. But if they wish to discover other motives, such may be found in abundance. It is to the pious aged that the young are to look for superior knowledge and conspicuous virtue. They have enjoyed the benefits of experience, and are therefore qualified to act as monitors and guides. They may be considered, too, as oracles, who speak to the serious and well-disposed with overwhelming authority. They have encountered the temptations and difficulties which yet await their younger brethren, and can point out to others the way by which they escaped. They, probably, have been exposed to trials from which our fortitude would shrink in terror, and have mortified those evil dispositions of nature which might be preparing for us disappointments, misery, and guilt. To render our veneration more personal and endearing we should consider them, also, as dead to those pleasures and enjoyments which we regard as our chief felicity, and labouring with those infirmities under which we must one day sink. Besides, therefore, the precepts of religion and the arguments of reason, there are other motives arising from sensibility and the humane affections of the heart, which render it an indispensable duty in the young to reverence the old.Let us consider the motives for honouring "the hoary head," as they are deprived from the principles and connected with the duties of Christianity. But we must remember it is not merely to age that this reverence is due, but to the hoary head only "when it is found in the way of righteousness." From its very nature this must be one of the relative duties of the young, and its obligations are founded on the genuine sentiments of the heart, on the deductions of reason, as well as the precepts of religion, and on the peculiar advantages resulting from it. The gospel of Christ strongly inculcates the principles of general deference and humility. "In lowliness of mind," says the apostle, "let each esteem other better than himself," and to the exhortation of being "kindly affectioned towards our fellow-creatures," is added the precept of "preferring one another in honour." The young, considered in their relation to the aged, have many additional reasons for showing this deference and honour; and farther, the sentiments of reverence should be accompanied with tenderness and affection. It is to them that the young are to look for superior knowledge, and, in general, superior virtue. They have enjoyed the benefits of experience, as well as reflection, and are therefore qualified to be our monitors and guides. The claims to deference arising from the distinctions of birth and fortune, when compared to these, are trifling and inconsiderable. If reverence be due from one human being to another it can never be offered with more propriety than as the price of knowledge from the ignorant to the wise. The aged may be considered, in this respect, as oracles that speak to the serious and the well-disposed with such conviction as they can nowhere find but in their own experience. They are a sort of living chronicles, that impress the memory and imagination with all the energy of truth. Let us consider them as having husbanded and improved the talent well, which we perhaps shall squander away, and as preparing, with humble confidence, to "enter into the joy of their Lord." But let me observe that these observations relate only to "the hoary head," when crowned with wisdom, virtue, and piety. Viewed in this light, the aged cannot but impress us with the deepest sense of reverence and honour. They have encountered difficulties and temptations, in which we perhaps shall be enthralled, and can point out to us the means by which they escaped. They have been exposed to trials from which our fortitude would shrink with terror, and have mortified those evil dispositions of nature which might be preparing for us disappointment, misery, and guilt. To the hero who has retired from the field, crowned with the wreath of fame, men look up with admiration and applause; and shall we withhold our reverence from Him who has fought the good fight of "Christian faith," and obtained a victory over the temptations of the world? But as every human being is subject to sin, we should be careful, in all the examples that are set before us, to avoid the evil and to imitate the good. In short, let us joyfully embrace every means in our power of improving that inestimable talent which is entrusted to our care, and by which alone we can "grow wise unto salvation."
Rise up before the hoary head. 1.
Because the aged represent mature wisdom.
2. Because the aged record long years spent in our service.
3. Because the aged demonstrate God's providential care.
4. Because the aged are solemn admonitions of life's decay.
5. Because the aged suggest nearness to eternity.
6. Because the aged exhibit the richest fruits of grace.
7. Because the aged mark the line of God's covenant blessings for descendants.
8. Because the aged represent on earth Him who is the "Ancient of Days."
(1)Youth should venerate the aged (Job 30. 1:12; Isaiah 3:4, 5).
(2)Age should influence and hallow the young (2 Timothy 1:5).
When you meet them in public places, or they come to where you are, show them reverence.. Infirmity, wisdom, nay, age in itself, have each a claim on us. Age, apart from its qualities, has in it solemnity. The Lord would thus solemnise us in the midst of our pursuits. "Lo! the shadow of eternity! for one cometh who is almost in eternity already. His head and beard white as snow, indicate his speedy appearance before the Ancient of Days, the hair of whose head is as pure wool." Every object, too, that is feeble seems to be recommended to our care by God; for these, are types of the condition wherein He finds us when His grace comes to save. It. is, therefore, exhibiting His grace in a shadow, when the helpless are relieved, "the fatherless find mercy" (Hosea 14:3
), "the orphans relieved, and the widow" (Psalm 146:9
), and the "stranger preserved."
The institutions of Sparta have everywhere been praised for the encouragement which they gave to the duty of showing respect for the aged, but the language of the Jewish lawgiver is much more emphatic: "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man." Beautiful examples are recorded in the Bible, as patterns for our imitation, in this important particular of filial reverence and obedience. The behaviour of Isaac towards Abraham, and that of Jacob to both father and mother; Joseph's deference to his aged father, even when he himself was surrounded by the splendours of the Egyptian Court; Ruth with her mother-in-law; Solomon in the grandeur of royalty, paying respect to his mother; and, more than all, our blessed Saviour's tender care for His mother in the hour of His dying agonies — all afford suggestive lessons to us. It is, however, not merely concerning reverence to parents that the text would lead us to speak. The very appearance of age is calculated to soften our hearts and to call forth our respect. No snow falls lighter than that which sprinkles the head in advancing years; and yet none is really heavier, because it never melts. Vale and mountain-top are covered alike with the white flakes which winter scatters broadcast and with unstinted hand, but the cheerful sun will soon cause them to disappear. There is no returning spring whose genial warmth can penetrate the eternal frost of age. The decrepitude of age can claim neither enterprise nor courage. "He is afraid of that which is high, and fears are in the way," and with the load of infirmities which press him down, the additional weight of a "grasshopper" would be burdensome. "Desire has failed," and ambition can no longer tempt him to put forth ventures and submit to toil. Only one wish remains to be fulfilled — to depart from this weary life. With this vivid picture before him, who can help feeling a sympathy for the old? It must be confessed that the present generation are sadly unmindful of the lesson taught us in the Catechism, "To submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters; to order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters." "Betters," indeed! Verily, the young people of this age have no "betters"! Some years ago Governor Everett, of Massachusetts, was riding out of Boston in a sleigh, with another gentleman of high social position, when they approached a school-house, from which a score of noisy boys rushed forth to enjoy their afternoon's recess. The governor said to his friend, "Let us observe whether these lads show the marks of politeness to us which we were taught to practise fifty years ago." At the same time he expressed his fears that the habits of civility were not much thought of in later times. As the sleigh passed the school-house all doubt on the subject was instantly dispelled, for the rude lads did their best at pelting the dignitaries with snowballs as they drove rapidly along the way. Every right-minded person must acknowledge that such conduct was outrageous and inexcusable. We ought, however, to go behind this astonishing act of boorish rudeness, and remember what long-continued neglect of proper instruction and training, on the part of parents and teachers, had suffered such a shocking state of manners to grow up in a civilised land. There never was anything quite equal to the presumption of the young or the meekness and acquiescence of the old in this matter. A shrewd observer remarked, not long ago, to a friend, "If, as you are going down town, you should approach a dozen boys playing on the sidewalk, so that no room was left for you to pass, which would you do? would you say, 'Boys, you must not block up the walk in this way!' or would you get down into the muddy street and go round?" The prompt answer was, "Go round, of course!" This reply shows the shameful pass to which things have come. Men of mature years must abdicate all rights, and truckle under with cowardly submission, lest they provoke the ill-will of boys! Parents and teachers! it is your bounden duty to correct this evil, cost what it may. The "Church Catechism" must again be made what it was in past generations when the young showed respect to their "betters," a text-book in our families and schools. I trust that the young persons who bear me will not only be convinced by what has just been said of the imperative duty of honouring their parents, but that the kindred obligation of showing respect to old age will be much more thought of and observed. If your lives are spared, it will not be many years before you will be old yourselves, and you will need the sympathy and consideration which I am now recommending you to practise. The rules of ordinary politeness would require you to attend to this matter, but the duty rests on much higher ground. It is God Himself who gives the command, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man."
()The eye of age looks meek into my heart; the voice of age echoes mournfully through it; the hoary head and palsied hand of age plead irresistibly for its sympathies. I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding.
S. S. Chronicle.One day (Cicero tells the story in his treatise on "Old Age,") an aged Athenian came into the theatre, but not one of his fellow-citizens in that immense crowd would incommode himself to make room for him. As, however, he approached the ambassadors from Lacedaemon, who had their own special seat, they all rose to receive him into their midst. The whole assembly burst into applause, whereupon somebody said, "The Athenians know what is good, but they will not practise it." Many people know what is right but turn a deaf ear to conscience, and neglect their duty, although it has been made clear to them what that duty is.
()God hath put a signal honour upon it by styling Himself the "Ancient of Days," and He threatens it as a great judgment upon a people (Isaiah 3:5), that the children shall behave themselves proudly against the ancients. A reverent awe before them is not only a point of manners, but a part of a moral and express duty; and therefore it is said of Elihu (Job 32:4), that he waited till Job had spoken because he was elder than he, and in ver. 6 he saith, "I am young and ye are very old: wherefore I was afraid and durst not show you mine opinion."
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