They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
I. Let us look at SOME OF THESE INEVITABLE EXPERIENCES OF ADVANCING YEARS, WHICH EVINCE THE NEED OF SOME PRINCIPLE OF GREENNESS AND VITALITY BEYOND THE POWER OF TIME OR OF EARTHLY CHANGE. In the first place, if we live long, we must outlive the keen enjoyment of mere pleasure, — of the lighter and gayer portions of life. The feeling rapidly grows upon one, that the game of life is too doubtful, and its stakes too desperate, for trifling; and many of the voices, much of the laughter, which used to make him glad, and on which in early life his free soul could float forth in entire sympathy, have become as vapid as the crackling of thorns. With regard to the more serious pursuits of life, a man very early ascertains and exhausts the capacities of his condition, knows all that he is likely to be and do, and sees but little unattained for which he can reasonably hope. Golden visions have grown dim, wide and far-reaching prospects have been narrowed, and the horizon is fast shutting in on every side. The foremost places in society, the commanding posts in public life, are constantly usurped by younger and still younger claimants, so that instead of the fathers are the children and the children's children. Then, again, though the domestic life of the aged is often serene and happy, it is made so only by the hallowing power of a higher world; for, in an early point of view, it is but little that we can promise ourselves in declining years as to our social and domestic relations.
II. Let us look at SOME OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WE SHALL NEED FOR OUR HAPPINESS, UNDER THE FULL CONSCIOUSNESS OF DECLINING YEARS. In the first place, we must feel that we have lived for some worthy purpose, accomplished some satisfying and permanent results, laid up some treasure that cannot be taken from us. Let us walk with God now, — and then, should the days come when we can no longer walk with men, we shall still retain our hidden life with Him; and in hoary winter, when the harvest of our earthly life has passed, and its sheaves are all gathered in, the fruits of piety shall still be ripening for a better harvest in heaven. Again, would we enjoy a happy old age, let us make kindness and love the law of our lips and our lives. Let us bind ourselves by ties of mutual benefit with as many of our fellow-beings as we may. Again, would we pass a happy old age, let us not forsake the communion of our departed friends. Let us learn of the spirit of Jesus to regard those who have gone as still near and with us, as separated from us but by a thin veil, which faith may make transparent, and as forming a goodly company to welcome us to our final rest, and to shed over the majestic courts of heaven a familiar, homelike aspect.
(A. P. Peabody.)
Parallel VersesKJV: They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;