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The Christianity of Old Age.

The Christianity of Old Age.

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Published by glennpease
BY JAMES MARTINEAU.

Philemon 9. FOR love's sake I RATUER BESEECH THEE, BEING SUCH A ONE AS TAUL THE AGED.
BY JAMES MARTINEAU.

Philemon 9. FOR love's sake I RATUER BESEECH THEE, BEING SUCH A ONE AS TAUL THE AGED.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 27, 2014
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THE CHRISTIANITY OF OLD AGE. BY JAMES MARTINEAU. Philemon 9. FOR love's sake I RATUER BESEECH THEE, BEING SUCH A ONE AS TAUL THE AGED. The reverence for age is a striking and refreshing feature in the civilization of ancient and Pagan times. The frequent traces of it in the literature of Greece and Rome, compared with the silence of Christian precept on the subject, might be thought to indicate that this sentiment owes no obligation to Christianity, and has a better home in the human-ities of nature, than in the suggestions of faith. The conclusion, however, would be wholly unwarrantable ; and would never occur, except to those who do not look beyond the letter into the spirit of a system, and who think to understand a religion by arithmetical reckoning of its maxims. Every system naturally strengthens most its weakest points. That Cicero wrote a treatise upon Age, and expended on it all the ingenuity of his philosophy, and the graces of his dialogue, proves that he regarded this department of morality with anxiety and apprehension ; nor would
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Christianity have left the topic untouched, if its spirit and faith had not lifted this class of duties beyond the danger of neglect. A decline of tenderness tow-262 THE CHRISTIANITY OF OLD AGE. ards the aged, — mean or even melancholy sentiments with respect to their infirmities, can never arise with-out scepticism of human immortality, and a total defection from the Christian mind. The dignity of age in the ancient world, was sus-tained by many considerations, of mingled expediency and affection, which retain with us but little force. Of how many honors has the printing-press alone deprived the hoary head! It has driven out the era, so genial to the old, of spoken wisdom, and threatens a reign of silence, by putting all knowledge and ex-perience into type. The patriarch of a community can never be restored to the kind of importance which he possessed in the elder societies of the world. He was his neighbor's chronicler; bearing within him the only extant image of many departed scenes and memorable deeds, and able to link the dim traditions
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of the past with the living incidents of the present. He was their most qualified counsellor ; his memory serving as the archives of the state, and supplyhig many a passage of history illustrative of existing emergencies, and solving some civic perplexity. He was their poet; representative of an age already passed from the actual into the ideal ; associate or contemporary of men whose names have become ven-erable ; and in the oft-repeated tale of other days, from which time has expelled whatever was prosaic, weaving the retrospect of life into an Epic. He was their priest ; loving to nurture wonder and spread the sense of mystery, by recounting the authentic prodi-gies of his or his father's years, when omen and prophecy were no dubious things, but sober verities which Providence had not yet begrudged the still pious earth. From all these prerogatives he is now THE CHRISTIANITY OF OLD AGE. 263 deposed, supplanted in his authority by the journal and the library ; whose speechless and impersonal lore coldly, but effectually, supplies the wants once served by the living voice of elders kindling with the inspi-
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