The Exigency of Old Age
Luke 24:29
But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

The disciples "constrained" our Lord to abide with them; for, they said, "It is toward evening, and the day is far spent." This act of theirs and their words taken together are suggestive of the truth that those whose life is fast waning - with whom it is "toward evening," whose day is "far spent" - have urgent need that Jesus Christ should "abide with" them. We have before us the special spiritual necessities of old age. It has -

I. ITS SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY. We look to advanced religious experience to set us a particularly blameless example, to show us most clearly the spirit and the complexion of a distinctly Christian life, to lead us in the direction of spirituality and purity. For this high service the near presence of the Saviour is needed, and the constant exercise of his gracious power.

II. ITS SPECIAL TEMPTATION. The temptation of age is to querulousness, to an illiberal criticism of the present and to an undue and partial preference of the past, to an unjust and unwise severity in judging the eccentricities and irregularities of the young, to a dissatisfaction with the comparative obscurity to which it is itself descending. To prevail against this temptation, and to preserve equanimity, sweetness, cheerfulness of spirit and hopefulness of heart, age has urgent need of a constant renewal from above.

III. ITS SPECIAL PRIVATIONS. There are a few who live to a "good old age" without any or without much consciousness of loss. But these are only a few. With old age usually comes privation. In respect of sight, of hearing, of power of locomotion, of facility in speaking, of memory, of intellectual grasp, the aged are painfully conscious that "they are not what they were; they speak with diminished fire, they act with a lessened force." Their life is lower, is narrowed; they are less to their contemporaries than they used to be. They need comfort under the sense of loss; they need another source of satisfaction and of joy. In whom, in what, shall they find it, but in the Person and the presence of the Divine Friend and Saviour?

IV. ITS SPECIAL LONELINESS, Age is often lonely. It misses the companions of its youth and its prime. Most of these, perhaps nearly all, have fallen, and they are as the last leaf upon the wintry bough. "They are all gone, the old familiar faces," is the plaintive strain of their discourse; and some who still live have drifted away from them in space or in spirit. There is no one left who can go back with them in thought and sympathy to the old times, the memory of which is so pleasant, and which they would fain revisit with the friends of youth and childhood. Age is apt to be very lonely, and it has great need of a Divine Companion who does not pass away, who "abides," who is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."

V. ITS SPECIAL LIMITATION. We all know that there may not be many days left in which we can bear witness for our Lord and his gospel. But the aged know that there can not be many more left to them. So much the more, therefore, as they see the night approaching when they can work no more for their Master, may they well desire to be and to do all that still lies in their power. Every hour is golden to him to whom but few remain. And because the opportunities of serving men here on earth are narrowing perceptibly day by day, the aged may earnestly entreat their Lord to be near to them, and to let his grace rest upon them, that their last days may be full of fruitfulness as well as of peace and hope.

VI. ITS NEARNESS TO DEATH. We wish not only to "live unto the Lord," but also to "die unto the Lord;" to honour him in the manner of our death as well as by the spirit of our life. They who feel that the evening shadows are gathering, and that the night of death is near, may well wish for the near presence of the upholding Saviour, with whom they will go tranquilly and hopefully through the last darkness. "Abide with us," they say; "be with us as we take the last steps of our earthly journey, go down with us into the deep waters, attend us till we reach the heavenly shore."

"Oh, meet us in the valley,
When heart and flesh shall fail,
And softly, safely, lead us on,
Until within the veil

When faith shall turn to gladness,
To find ourselves with thee,
And trembling Hope shall realize
Her full felicity." ? C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

WEB: They urged him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is almost evening, and the day is almost over." He went in to stay with them.

Detaining Christ
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