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CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE APPEAL OF AN AGED SERVANT.

“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not

when my strength faileth."-Psalm lxxi. 9.

My Master, my Lord and Master, is not like some masters, who will turn off an old servant when he can do them no more service. All earthly masters are not such ; some there are, who care for their old servants when they are past work, and give them a home, and provide for their comfort. But my Master is better than the best of earthly masters. He Whose I am, and Whom I serve, will never cast me off; though my strength may fail entirely, He will not forsake me. I can do Him little more active service, but He will take care of me; and if, in old age, I want more than ever, He will give me more.

Was David afraid that God would cast him off, and forsake him ? He begs Him not to; does his prayer imply fear? No; it is the prayer of faith. He who had served God so long did not think that God would turn him off. Knowing God as he did, he had no such fear. He who could say, "O God, Thou art my God,” could not think that God would change towards him when he was old. But it is Scriptural to pray for things which we firmly believe God means to give, and to ask Him not to do that which we have not the least fear that He will do. We are to pray for what God has already promised; His promises are not to stop our prayers, but to call them forth.

O my God, I am old and feeble, and my strength fails daily; do not cast me off, do not forsake me. I know Thou wilt not, yet I ask Thee. I know Thou wilt not, and yet at times my heart sinks within me. Strength declines, the powers of life are weakened, the infirmities of age increase, and sometimes through very weakness my spirit fails. Look upon me in Thy pitying mercy, have compas

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sion on my infirmities, forgive any momentary misgiving, hold me up that I sink not, help me to call upon Thee, help me to believe.

· Even to hoar hairs will I carry you. That is a promise that brings me comfort. If I

say to God, “ Cast me not off in the time of age," I may take this as His answer, “Even to hoar hairs will I carry you.” My God, I thank Thee for this gracious word. I believe it, I know it is true, I am sure that Thou wilt fulfil it. Hoar hairs are upon me now, and Thou dost carry me, support me, help me ; and so Thou wilt always. Thus dost Thou answer my prayer, “Cast me not off !” And thus dost Thou encourage me to pray still, “Cast me not off!” Every day, in the weakness of old age and failing health, a weakness that still increases, every day will I call upon Thee afresh, “Cast me not off, . . . forsake me not ! ” and I know Thou never wilt.

! Sometimes it makes me sad to think of the days of my youth and strength as quite past and gone ; yet David was not saddened but encouraged by such thoughts, for he said, “O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth,

and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works : now also, when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not, until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.' He Who taught, guided, and strengthened me when I was young, will not leave me when I am old. I want Him now more than ever.

Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation !”

But let me not fail to notice with what special object David desired God's support. Not for his own comfort only, but also for the service of God. In youth and manhood he had declared His wondrous works; now, in old age, he wished to carry on the same work; his desire was to show God's almighty power to that generation, from which he was so soon to pass ; and yet further, so to speak

; and write that generations to come might learn from his words.

And has not God granted his prayer ? Eight and twenty centuries have passed, and still we read what David wrote. Still he speaks to us of God's power, and holiness,

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and mercy, and love. Still do the words of the sweet Psalmist of Israel cause our hearts to glow, and lift our thoughts to God, and impress us and comfort us. God never did cast him off, or forsake him; even to the last he was strengthened to speak for God, and still, to this day, “he, being dead, yet speaketh.”

The servants of God are never quite worn out; even old age can do some service; not the service of youth, but its own special service. If the fire of youthful zeal is tamed, a ripe experience, such as the young cannot have, has taken its place. " Years should speak.” They who have been long in the school of God are best fitted to teach others; and the words of one who is nearing the end of his course have on that very account a peculiar weight. Paul felt this.

" Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged ;” thus he wrote to Philemon. And the same feeling appears in his words to Timothy, “ For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." Peter also would do his Lord

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