William Edward Schenck.

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PRINCETON, N. J.



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PRESENTED BY



THE PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION



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Nearing Home.



COMFORTS AND COUNSELS FOR THE AGED.



WILLIAM E. SCHENCK, D.D.



PHILADELPHIA:

PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,

1334 CHESTNUT STREET.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

THE TRUSTEES OF THE

PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.



estoott & Thomson,

Btereotypers, Philada.



CONTENTS.



PREFACE 9

WOULD YOU BE YOUNG AGAIN? Caroline, Baroness of Nairn. 11

THE REVIEW OF LIFE Anonymous. 13

THE OLD FOLKS Anonymous. U

NIGHTFALL Margaret Junkin. 36

FATHER, I KNOW Miss A. L. Waring. S3

OUR ONE LIFE.... Horatius Bonar, D.D. 41

RETROSPECT Martin F. Tupper. i?>

REFLECTIONS ON OLD AGE Archibald Alexander, D.D. 45

CHRISTIAN GRACES FOR THE AGED Anonymous. 5-3

BRIDGES A. D. F. Randolph. 55

A LITTLE WHILE Greville. 53

THE FRUITLESS TREE John M. Lowrie, D.D. CO

AFTERNOON .M.aigaret Junkin. 62

OLD AGE ANTICIPATED Rev. Reuben Smith. 64

LOVING-KINDNESS Rev. Samuel Medley. 70

A FEW MOBE DAYS Horatius Panar, D.D. 73

ABIDE WITH ME Rev. Henry Francis Lyte. SO

GOD IS MY LIGHT TIencstenrerg. S2

THE PILGRIM'S RETROSPECT Rev. Robert F. Sample. S4

3



4 CONTENTS.

PAG*

SYMPATHY AXD SELFISHNESS Anonymous. 87

THY SAVIOUR'S PRAYER Anonymous. 94

THE AGED CHRISTIAN . Anonymous. 96

THE VOICE FROM GALILEE Horatius Bonar, D.D. 99

THE FATHER-LAND From the German of Claus Harms. 101

THE PALM James Hamilton, D.D. 103

GOD, MY EXCEEDING JOY James W. Alexander, D.D. 107

A NAME IN THE SAND Hannah F. Gould. 109

STILL WILL WE TRUST William H. Burleigh. Ill

A PROSPECT OF HEAVEN Isaac Watts, D.D. 113

3ELS TO THE AGED Archibald Alexander, D.D. 115

NEARER TO THEE Miss Sarah F. Adams. 125

MY REST IS IN HEAVEN Anonymous. 127

THE CROWN OF MY HOPE William Cowper. 129

HOME IN VIEW Rev. John Newton. 131

EVENING TIME James Montgomery. 133

\XD TO WIFE John M. Lowrie, D.D. 134

To AX AGED UNBELIEVER William S. Plumer, D.D. 142

NOTHING BUT LEAVES Anonymous. 151

GOD, OUR HELP Isaac Watts, D.D. 153

I KXOW THAT I MUST DIE From the German op B. Schmolke. 155

AS CHRIST CHOOSES Riciiard Baxter. 157

THE BLESSED HOPE Rev. Augustus M. Toplady. 159

EXEMPT FROM THE DECAYS OF AGE John Gosman, D.D. 162

HEAVEN Anonymous. 166

LIGHT AT EVENTIDE Anonymous. 168

Martin F. Tupper. 170



CONTENTS. 5

PAGB

ALL IS WELL Anonymous. 172

TO THE UTTERMOST Rev. Gardiner Spring Plumlby. 174

A LITTLE WHILE.... Horatius Bonar, D.D. 181

PECULIAR DUTIES OP THE AGED Archibald Alexander, D.D. 183

I SHALL SOON BE DYING. .....Anonymous. 192

THE LOSS OF MEMORY Anonymous. 194

PRAYER OF AN AGED BELIEVER Sir Robert Grant. 201 .

HEAVENLY REALITIES From the German of J. Lange. 203

SORROWS AND CONSOLATIONS OF OLD AGE Rev. John Kennedy. 206

CHRISTIAN'S VIEW OF ETERNITY From German of C. C. Sturm. 215

DIM EVE DRAWS ON Anonymous. 217

THE INFIRMITIES OF AGE Anonymous. 21S

JOYS TO COME....; From the German of H. C. Von Schweinitz. 229

THE PROMISED STRENGTH Anonymous. 231

TARRY WITH ME Anonymous. 245

OUTLIVED HER USEFULNESS Mrs. Adeline T. Davidson. 247

THE HOPE OF THE DISCONSOLATE Sir Robert Grant. 252

NEARER HOME Alice Cary. 254

BEYOND THE SUNSET Rev. Robert F. Sample. 256

THE UNCHANGING FRIEND Anonymous. 253

THE SYMPATHY OF JESUS Paul Gephardt. 273

THE FRIEND UNSEEN Charlotte Elliot. 276

YOUTH RENEWED IN AGE James W. Alexander, D.D. 278

SOJOURNING AS AT AN INN A. D. F. Randolph. 285

TO AN OLD DISCIPLE William S. Plumer, D.D. 288

ONLY WAITING Anonymous. 302

FRIEND AFTER FRIEND DEPARTS James Montgomery. 304



6 CONTENTS.

FAQS

WORDS IN SEASON Anonymous. 306

THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE From the German. 327

THE VERGE OF LIFE Philip Doddridge, D.D. 330

YONDER, Horatius Bonar, D.D. 332

TOO OLD TO BE USEFUL , Anonymous. 334

OLD AGE John Walton. 350

FULLY RIPE Anonymous. 351

THE HOUR OF DEPARTURE Rev. John Logan. 353

HOW TO DIE SAFELY Archibald Alexander, D.D. 355

OUR BELOVED HAVE DEPARTED From the German of J. Lange. 364

CONFIDENCE IN GOD Paul Gephardt. 366

THE BANKS OF THE RIVER Anonymous. 369

HEAVENWARD From the German op B. Schmolke. 3S7

WHEN WILT THOU DIE? Anonymous. 3S9

THE AGED BELIEVER'S TRIUMPH Rev. William Romaine. 392

A LITTLE WAY Miss Josephine Pollard. 405

PORT IN DEATH From the German op N. Hermann. 407

THE HEAVENLY REST Anonymous. 409

AGED BELIEVER AT THE GATE OF HEAVEN....Thos. Guthrie, D.D. 42f

A BETTER COUNTRY Rev. John Newton. 427

GRANDMA IS DEAD A. D. F. Randolph. 428

LONGING AFTER HEAVEN De Fleury. 432

CROSSING THE RIVER Rev. Robert F. Sample. 434

HEAVEN Horatius Bonar, D.D. 437

HERE AND THERE Anonymous. 439

THAT LAND From the German op Uhland. 441

PRAYER FOR ONE NEARING ANOTHER WORLD. ..A. Alexander, D.D. 443



CONTENTS. 7

PAGB

GOD OF MY YOUTH Isaac Watts, D.D. 450

I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAY William A. Muhlenberg, D.D. 452

THE LORD'S MY SHEPHERD Rouse. 454

THE PILGRIM'S SONG Anonymous. 455

WORN AND WEARY S. Roberts. 457

AS THY DAYS Lydia H. Sigourney. 459

THE HEAVENLY REST William B. Tappan. 460

THY WILL BE DONE Charlotte Elliot. 461

OUR HOME Anonymous. 463




PREFACE



In this day, when so much labour is expended in
producing almost innumerable books for the young,
there is clanger of our neglecting the aged ones who
are about to pass off the stage of life. Yet there is
a host of men and women in the decline of life who
will be glad to receive a few words of instruction, of
sympathy and of kindly cheer. For such this book
has been prepared. May God bless it and make it a
blessing to all such readers !

It will be seen that the materials for the volume
have been gathered from a great variety of sources.
Special acknowledgment is due to a volume entitled
"Life's Evening Hour," published by the Religious
Tract Society of London, from which several of the
excellent anonymous pieces have been taken.

W. E. S.



Nearing Home



Jpfoulfr $mx be fWng ^gain ? *

CAROLINE, BARONESS OF NAIRN.

Would you be young again ?

So would not I ; —
One tear to memory given,

Onward I'll hie ; —
Life's dark wave forded o'er,

All but at rest on shore,
Say, would you plunge once more,

With home so nigh ?

If you might, would you now

Retrace your way ?
Wander through stormy wilds.

Faint and astray ?
Night's gloomy watches fled,

Morning all beaming red,
Hope's smiles around us shed,

Heavenward, away !

* Written in the author's seventy-sixth year.



u



12 NEARING BOME.

Where are those dear ones,

Our joy and delight,
Dear and more dear, though now

Hidden from sight ?
Where they rejoice to be,

There is the home for me ;
Fly, time, fly speedily ;

Come, light and life !



fyt |ttbteto of fifie.



ANONYMOUS.



The busy day of life is over. Its pleasures, its
duties, and its anxieties have passed away. The
sunshine and the shade, which alternately marked
its path, have alike disappeared ; and the soft tints
of evening are gathered over the sky.

The evening of life ! Yes : life has its sunset hour,
its twilight season. The dim eye, the silvered lock,
and the feeble step indicate that the closing period of
earthly existence has arrived. How rapid has been
the flight of time ! How near must be the approach
of eternity !

The gradual decline of health and strength is a
kind and merciful preparative for the solemn change
which awaits us. It seems to lessen the reluctance
which our nature feels to give up life ; to wean us
from the varied attractions of earth ; to soften the
abrupt transition from the present to a future state
of being. It accustoms us to the consideration of
death : it assists us in the realization of immortality.

The evening of life ! Evening is the time for rest.



13



14 NEARING HOME.

The little bird seeks its leafy roost ; the rosy child
throws aside its playthings and falls asleep ; the
weary labourer comes home from his work. The
cares of the day are forgotten ; and all is hushed and
quiet. And life's closing hours, Christian reader,
should be distinguished by serenity and repose.
You must not harass and perplex yourself now with
occupations which were once both appropriate and
necessary, nor repine because you are unable to exert
yourself as in former days. Your strength is to sit
still. Old age is the resting-place in the journey of
life ; and the feverish heat of noontide is exchanged
for the refreshing coolness of twilight.

An impatient, restless, grasping, or dissatisfied
spirit is not consistent with the character of an aged
pilgrim. Habitual quietude and self-possession
should mark his demeanour. Neither the excite-
ments of the world, nor the agitations of the pro-
fessing church, should ruffle your equanimity ; for
you are too experienced a traveller in this vale of
tears to be discomposed by the distractions around
you, or to doubt the wisdom and faithfulness of Him
who makes all things work together l'or good.

Your rest in Christ, your trust in him as your
Saviour, should be more perfect, more unwavering
than in earlier years. "I know whom I have be-



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. 15

lieved, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that
which I have committed unto him against that
day,"* should be the assured expression of your con-
fidence in him. Firmly placed on the Rock of ages,
and fully conscious of the security of your position,
your closing life should be a realization of that
promise in which Grocl has engaged to keep in " per-
fect peace" those whose minds are stayed on him.f
The cheerful, all-sustaining faith of an aged Chris-
tian is one of the best testimonies to the worth and
reality of religion, and furnishes a bright and en-
couraging example to the lambs of the flock. Weary
and distressed by the arduous conflict in which he is
engaged, the youthful Christian is frequently too
ready to conclude with the desponding patriarch,
"All these things are against me;"J or to exclaim
with the sorrowful Psalmist, "I shall perish one
day."§ At such seasons in his experience his faith
is strengthened and his hope is revived as he be-
holds the tranquillity and peace of some advanced
believer, who has safely passed through similar
trials and successfully surmounted similar tempta-
tions to his own, and who is now enjoying a foretaste
of that rest which remaineth to the people of God.

* 2 Tim. i. 12. t Isa. xxvi. 3.

% Gen. xlii.36. \ 1 Sam. xxvii. 1.



16 HEARING HOME.

Such repose is to him a pledge of his own partial
deliverance from toil and conflict ; and the contem-
plation of it enables him to gird up the loins of his
mind, and to run with patience the race set before
him.

Then let those around you, Christian reader, see
that your hope is like an anchor sure and steadfast ;
that you are now confidently resting upon those
principles which have hitherto sustained and guided
you.. Let no doubt shadow your peace; no anxiety
ruffle your composure. You have struggled long
with trial and temptation ; you have tested in your
own experience the truth of God's promises; you
have done his work among your fellow-men ; and
now you must calmly wait until your Father's loving
voice bids you welcome home.

The evening of life ! Evening is the time for re-
flection. Amidst the busy and exciting occupations
of the day there is seldom much opportunity for
serious consideration. Well-disciplined minds, it is
true, can control their thoughts, and gather them
around high and holy subjects, even in those mo-
ments which are necessarily devoted to worldly busi-
ness; but most persons are so harassed and engrossed
by the constant claims upon their time and attention
is scarcely to be able to cast a hurried glance on



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. 17

things which are unseen and remote ; and they feel
how welcome and how desirable is the evening hour
for quiet meditation, for self-examination, and for
the formation of wise and good purposes.

Now, reader, your eventide of life should be con-
secrated to calm and elevated thought. Through
the long period which is passed you have not per-
haps redeemed much time for hallowed considera-
tion. Martha-like, you may have been cumbered
with much serving; or, Israel-like,, you may have
forgotten the Lord your God. But whatever has
been your j)revious history, you are now, by the
infirmities of age, withdrawn from active duties, that
you may muse upon coming realities. How thankful
should you feel that there is yet a brief space allotted
you for pious thought and preparation, before you
go hence and be no more seen !

In the peaceful twilight hour, when we sit alone
and commune with our own hearts, our thoughts
naturally turn to the occurrences of the past day.
Little incidents, too trifling perhaps to speak about,
are reviewed and dwelt upon ; virtuous actions which
have been performed win the approval of conscience,
and wanderings from duty call forth feelings of
regret ; pleasing events and painful trials have each
a share in our pensive musings ; varied indeed are



18 NEARIXG HOME.

the scenes which one clay's panorama brings before
our view. And then we generally glance at the
future. We arrange our plans for the coming day ;
we look forward with glad expectance to the joys
which are in store for us ; or we shrink in fear and
despondency from the troubles which seem associated
with the morrow ; and will not your thoughts, aged
reader, thus chiefly divide themselves into retrospec-
tion and anticipation ?

Retrospection! "Thou shalt remember all the way
which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years
in the wilderness."* Old age is the most appropriate
season for this consideration of the past. The judg-
ment is not so likely to be warped by the heat of
excitement, nor the feelings to be swayed by the
influence of passion, as in youthful clays. The
veteran, as he recalls the battle-field, can mark
events and form opinions far more advantageously
than the soldier who is engaged in the midst of an
action. Contemplate, then, your whole life from the
dawn of infancy to its present decline; trace out
the many windings of your pathway through the
world; survey each minute feature of your changeful
history.

But is it pleasant to look back? Are there not

* Deut. viii. 2.



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. 19

many places in our pilgrimage where memory dis-
likes to linger? are there not many facts in life's
early records which we feel happier in forgetting?
True, the remembrance of our imperfections and our
sins is painful and self-condemning ; yet it is always
best to open one's eyes to the truth. Enter, then,
into a full and faithful examination of your past
history. Scrutinize your motives by the tests with
which God's word furnishes you ; and try your con-
duct by his holy law. Let neither pride nor preju-
dice hide the real state of things from your view.
How important is it that, on the confines of eternity,
you should be kept from self-decej)tion ! Ask God
himself to be your teacher. Make this your prayer :
"Search me, God, and know my heart: try me,
and know my thoughts : and see if there be any
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way ever-
lasting."*

What, then, is the result of your investigation?
What verdict does conscience, enlightened from
above, give concerning the past ? It may be, nay, it
must be, that you find enough in your recollections
to overwhelm you with sorrow and confusion. So
much selfishness and worldliness have mingled with
your brightest deeds; so much unfaithfulness has

* Psa. cxxxix. 23.



20 NEARINO HOME.

been connected with your professed allegiance to
Christ; so much impurity of heart and defilement
of life are discovered by your rigid self-inspection,
that you are ready to exclaim with the Psalmist,
'•Enter not into judgment with thy servant, Lord:
for in thy sight shall no man living be justified."*
Or perhaps your reflections on the past have con-
vinced you that you have hitherto been living with-
out God and without Christ in the world ; that you
have JDeen so absorbed with the trifles of earth as
to have forgotten the attractions of heaven ; that,
although a responsible being, and liable to be sum-
moned at any moment to your final account, you
have gone carelessly on in the ways of sin, and have
disobeyed the commands of the Most High.

The retrospect in either case is humbling. Yet
it leads to hope, and peace, and salvation. Both to
the troubled Christian and the penitent sinner the
cheering annunciation of the gospel is, " The blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin."f "Be-
lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved. "J Then, "though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red
like crimson, they shall be as wool."§ " Come unto
me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I

* Psa. cxliii. 2. t 1 John i. 7. X Acts xvi. 31. I Isa. i. 18.



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. 21

will give you rest."* Full and free forgiveness is
offered to all who seek it at his cross. Cast yourself
with all your sins, however great their number or
aggravated their guilt, at the Saviour's feet, saying,
"Lord, save me: I perish!" and his gracious re-
sponse will be, " Thy sins are forgiven ; — go in
peace, "f

Let the sorrowful and self-abasing remembrance
of your iniquity make Christ in your estimation
increasingly precious. Your sin is the dark back-
ground which throws his love and his atonement into
strong relief. Without his sacrifice and intercession,
how dark would be life's evening ! Not one star of
hope would illumine the sky ; not one ray of glad-
ness would beam on your spirit. But now the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ casts a lovely and softened radiance
on all around you and before you. Oh, as you be-
hold by faith the Lamb of God which taketh away
the sin of the world, as you thankfully recognize
in him your gracious Mediator and ever-prevalent
Intercessor, can you not exclaim with the aged and
rejoicing Simeon, " Lord, now lettest thou thy ser-
vant depart in peace : for mine eyes have seen thy
salvation ?"J

* Matt. xi. 28. f Matt. viii. 25 ; Luke vii. 48-50. % Luke ii. 29.



22 NEARINQ HOME.

But the consideration of the past should not only
awaken penitence, it should excite gratitude. You
have been wonderfully preserved from many dan-
gers ; you have been safely guided through many
difficulties ; you have been continually enriched with
numberless blessings. Surely goodness and mercy
have followed you all the days of your life. Recall
some of the multiplied proofs which you have had
of God's tender, parental care over you. It would
be impossible to recount every instance of his good-
ness towards you, for memory, always imperfect, is
now sadly impaired; but "forget not all his benefits."
Each comfort which you have enjoyed through life
came from his beneficent hand; each impulse to
good and each resistance to evil which you have felt
was through the importation of his grace. Can you
not heartily acknowledge the truthfulness of that
( harge which the dying servant of the Lord pressed
homo upon the Israelites around him? — " Ye know
that not one thing hath failed of all the good things
which the Lord your God spake concerning you ; all
are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath
failed thereof."* Oh yes! every aged believer will
testify to the faithfulness of God in the fulfilment of
his promises. You can look back to several points in

* Joshua xxiii. 14.



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. 23

your history, where, but for the interposition of
God's providence, or the aid of his Spirit, you must
have been overwhelmed by temptation and sorrow.
Many have been the occasions when you have had
to set up your stone of remembrance, and to confess
that hitherto the Lord hath helped you. Even as to
your trials, you can see now, with regard to some of
them at least, that they were "blessings in disguise;"
and you are sure that they were all sent for some
wise and loving purpose. With what grateful emo-
tions, then, should your recollections of by-gone days
be accompanied !

And should not gratitude for past mercies be com-
bined with hope for future favours and deliverances ?
" He thanked God, and took courage."* When you
think of the increased weakness and perhaps suffer-
ing which you have yet to bear ; of the inevitable
separation between yourself and those whom you
love which will soon take place; of the valley of
the shadow of death through which you must pass,
and of the solemn moment when your spirit shall
depart from this world, — natural feeling shrinks from
the scene before you. " Cast me not off in the time
of old age," is the language of your heart; "forsake
me not when my strength faileth."f Hearken to

* Acts xxviii. 15. t Psa. lxxi. 9.



24 REARING HOME.

the immediate reply of the God of your salvation :
" I will never leave thee nor forsake ihee."* " Fear
thou not ; for I am with thee : be not dismayed ; for
I am thy God : I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will
help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right
hand of my righteousness. "f Ah ! you can read
these assurances in the page, not of inspiration only,
but of experience. You can infer with certainty,
from God's conduct in past days, what its complexion
will .be in future moments. He is the same yester-
day, to-day, and for ever ; and therefore in the
loving-kindness which he has hitherto manifested
towards you, you have the surest pledge of the con-
tinual exercise of his power and goodness. He hath
delivered ; he doth deliver ; in whom you trust that
he will yet deliver. " The God who hath fed you all
your life long " is your God for ever and ever ; and
he will be your guide even unto death.

Anticipation! Looking back should be combined
with looking forward. The weary pilgrim, who re-
calls with mingled sorrow and gladness the events
which have occurred during his journey, will also
think of the rest and the welcome which wait for
him in his happy home. The Christian traveller, as
evening is closing in around him, and the objects

* Heb. xiii. 5. t Isa. xli. 10.



THE REVIEW OF LIFE. • 25

of earth are fading from his gaze, loves to let his
imagination dwell upon the many mansions in his
Father's house, where a place is being prepared for
him.

"A little while, and every fear,

That o'er the perfect day
Flings shadows dark and drear,

Shall fade like mist away ;
The secret tear, the anxious sigh,

Shall pass into a smile ;
Time changes to eternity —

We only wait a little while."

The morning of joy is close at hand; the things
which are not seen and eternal are every moment
drawing nearer to you; the promised inheritance,
incorruptible, undefilecl, and never-fading, will soon
be actually yours. Meditate on the glory which
shall presently be revealed. Consider how perfect
in its nature, and how perpetual in its duration, is
the happiness which God has provided for you in his
everlasting kingdom. An eminent minister, who
was spending an afternoon with some Christian
friends, was observed to be unusually silent. On
being aroused from his reverie by a question which
was addressed to him, he. said that he had been
absorbed in the contemplation of eternal happiness.
"Oh, my friends!" he exclaimed, with an energy



26 NEAEING HOME.

which arrested the attention of all present, "thin*
what it is to be for ever with the Lord ; for ever, for
ever, for ever I"

But is the prospect of heaven thus attractive to
you ? Have you any true sympathy with its joys,
any congeniality of spirit with its bright inhab-
itants ? You of course hope, when you die, to go to
heaven ; the most thoughtless and worldly-minded
characters hope that, not because they aspire after
more, intimate communion with God and closer con-
formity to his image, but because they associate the
idea of happiness with heaven ; and it is the in-
stinctive desire of their nature to wish to be happy.
But unless we are made meet for the inheritance of
the saints in light, the enjoyments of heaven, were
we allowed to be there, would be positively distaste-
ful to us. The unjust and the unholy would be
unjust and unholy still, and in a world of perfect
truth and purity would find no source of satisfaction.
A clergyman was conversing with an intelligent
woman in his parish, who was ill and dying. After
he had ceased talking to her, she said with an ex-
pression of much distaste, " If heaven be such a


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