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TO THE AGED.

TO THE AGED.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. DAVID OSGOOD


2 SAMUEL xix. 34—37.

And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have
I to live, that I should go up with the king
unto Jerusalem ?
BY REV. DAVID OSGOOD


2 SAMUEL xix. 34—37.

And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have
I to live, that I should go up with the king
unto Jerusalem ?

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 24, 2013
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06/24/2013

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TO THE AGED.BY REV. DAVID OSGOOD2 SAMUEL xix. 34—37.And Barzillai said unto the king, How long haveI to live, that I should go up with the kingunto Jerusalem ?I am this day fourscore years old ; and can I dis-cern between good and evil f can thy servanttaste what I eat, or what I drink f can I hearany more the voice of singing -men and singing-women ? Wherefore then should thy servantbe yet a burden unto my lord the king ?Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan withthe king ; and why should the king recom-pense it me with such a reward ?Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again,that I may die in mine own city, and be buriedby the grave of my father and of my mother.In this account which Barzillai gives of himself,we have at once a natural and a most pleasing de-scription of discreet and virtuous old age. This re-TO THE AGED. 289spectable personage, amidst the general rebellion of his countrymen, had steadily persevered in his allegi-ance to the government of his sovereign ; and beingvery rich, had furnished the fugitive king, duringthe period of his distress and exile, with the mostimportant supplies. The rebellion was now at an
 
end, and the lately abandoned monarch was return-ing home in triumph to his capital, amidst the gen-eral joy and acclamations of that very people who,but a few days or weeks before, had joined againsthim in battle array. At this happy turn of thepublic affairs, the heart of Barzillai leaped for joy ;and old as he was, he made a great effort to joinin the general congratulations to his lawful sovereign.So just and pious a prince as David, could not for-get the obligations which he had received from sofaithful and generous a subject. He was in hasteto requite them in a princely manner. At the firstsight of this old friend, he instantly proposed thathe should accompany him to his palace, and therespend the remainder of his days in the pleasures,amusements, and splendour of the court.To this proposal our text is the answer. " Bar-zillai said unto the king, how long have I to live,that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem ?I am this day fourscore years old." What thought-fulness and consideration, what gravity and wisdomare implied in this language ! How very differentfrom the weakness, if not sinfulness betrayed by37290 TO THE AGED.many persons advanced in years, who seem loath toremember themselves, and afraid that others shouldknow, how old they are ! This they industriouslyconceal as a secret which, if divulged, might ex-pose them to contempt, or debar them of pleasuresin which they still choose to partake. While drain-ing out the dregs of life and waiting the fall of afew remaining sands in their glass, they seem anx-ious to have it thought that they are still in theirprime ; as capable as ever, either of the business
 
or of the pleasures of the world. The dignity,authority, and respectability which nature has at-tached to old age when honourably supported, thesefoolish persons " resign for that absurd affectationof youth, which can only render them ridiculous."While they are as eager *js ever in their worldlypursuits, or as constant as ever in attending scenesof amusement, of mirth, and gaiety, in adopting thefashion of present times and affecting the airs andmanners of youth — their hoary locks, furrowedbrows, and tottering steps, are visible to all butthemselves.Contrasted with characters like these, how ration-al and dignified are the language and sentimentsof Barzillai ! Standing on the utmost boundaryof human life, he chooses to keep the closing sceneconstantly in view, and dreads that change of situa-tion in which he might for a moment lose sight of it. " How long have I to live, that I should goTO THEAGED. 291up with the king to Jerusalem ?" It would bewholly unbecoming my advanced years to minglein the gaieties and splendour of a court, or to un-dertake the duties of any of the great offices of state. As " I am this day fourscore years old,"to the present generation I am in a great measurea stranger. The most of my contemporaries havebeen long since numbered with the dead. Theshades of my former friends and acquaintance seemto hover around me and beckon me to follow them.My age and growing infirmities require that I shouldbe wholly disentangled from public affairs and butrarely appear on any public occasion. Retirement,solitude, and serious meditation on that world tothe borders of which I have made so near an ap-

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