An illustrated English paper captures of one of the charges of the British troops. It shows the men rushing forward, amid the smoke and bursting shell, over the shell craters and through the wire. In the foreground lies a wounded officer. But he has lifted himself on his elbow and with his free arm is cheering his comrades on to victory. He is out of it, done for, but he thinks not of that; he thinks of the foe, of the cause, of victory.
Happy are the aged who, when time carries them off the field, can leave with a cheer for those who with unabated strength are pressing on to meet the foe. These are they of whom the psalmist sang, in the old Scottish version:
And in old age when others jade,
They fruit still forth shall bring;
They shall be fat and full of sap,
And aye, be flourishing.
"Let it be our unceasing prayer that as we grow older we may not grow colder in the ways of God," said good George Muller. Some do. The enthusiasm of their earlier years flees away, and they become jaded in their affections, stale in their thoughts, indifferent toward everything. The sense of wonder is gone and they have no longer any interest. All things are full of weariness—all is vanity and vexation of spirit. They have given up the idea of going any further or learning anything more. "What do you do all day, Uncle Jimmy?" "I just sit and think, and sit and think—sometimes I just sit," answered Uncle Jimmy. That's getting old, in the bad sense of the word—ceasing to live before we die. God has something better than that for His saints.
That same George Muller above quoted, lived up into the late nineties —always bright, full of interest, hopeful, joyful. In his last years he would often stop in the midst of his conversation to exclaim, `Oh, I am so happy!" And it was not a mannerism nor was it feigned. "As we advance in years," he had written long before, "let us not decline in spiritual power; but let us see to it that an increase of spiritual vigor and energy be found in us, that our last days may be our best days. . Let the remaining days of our earthly pilgrimage be spent in an ever-increasing, earnest consecration to God." So indeed it was with him. And so it should be with all God's people. "The devil has no happy old men," it has been said. But those who are the Lord's, increase in faith and joy.—R. H. B., in The Word and Work.
The Earl of Halsburg when ninety years old prepared to celebrate the century mark by giving England a revised edition of their law amounting to twenty volumes. The great artist, Titian, painted one of his greatest pictures, The Battle of Lepanto, when he was 98. Von Moltke was in active service at 88. Goethe finished "Faust" when 82. Six months later he died. The astronomer Galileo was 73 years of age when he made some of his greatest discoveries. Socrates began to study music at the age of 80. Cato influenced the world more after he was 80 years of age than during all his previous life. Ludovico, at the great age of 115, wrote the memoirs of his own times.—Sunday School Times.
"I am on the bright side of seventy," said an aged man of God; "the bright side, because nearer to everlasting glory."
"Nature fails," said another, "but I am happy."
"My work is done," said the Countess of Huntingdon, when eighty-four years old: "I have nothing to do but to go to my Father."
"Eighty and six years," was Polycarp's answer when required to deny the truth, "have I served my Saviour, and He hath never done me any harm; and shall I deny Him now?"—The United Evangelical.
Extracts from a letter written by Dr. Jonathan Goforth to his children on February 10, 1934, his seventy-fifth birthday:
"I have attained to my seventy-fifth birthday. In all sincerity I can say, `It is but by the grace of God I am just what I am.' My conversion at eighteen was so complete that ever onward I could say, `I am crucified with Christ.'
"Then came that never-to-be-forgotten Sunday when I read the Memoirs of Robert Murray McCheyne. The call of God to preach the Gospel of His Son was so definite and so resistless that I could not but yield, and all thoughts of being a politician forever departed from my mind.
"Two years later, in old Knox Church, Ingersoll, I heard Dr. McKay of Formosa plead the claims of the heathen. From that hour I was a foreign missionary. Forty-three years have passed, but by the grace of God, 'I (have) not been disobedient unto the Heavenly Vision.' At seventy-five I feel the same resistless urge to seek the `other' sheep for whom the Saviour died.
"True, the loss of my sight is a great handicap. But the Lord has seen our special need and has sent to us an unusual young Chinese man to meet this need. In five months he has been with us, he and I together have read the New Testament three times. We have just finished the last chapter of Revelation today. This makes the sixty-sixth time I have read the New Testament in Chinese since the (then) New Version came out twenty-three years ago. Consequently it has become so familiar I can readily detect any mispronouncing of a word on Mr. Kao's part. Tomorrow we commence reading the Old Testament, going over each chapter five times.
"When I was five years of age, my mother started me memorizing Scripture. I owe so very much to that early impulse to memorize the Word. My great text has been, `Search the Scriptures; . . . they are they which testify of Me.' I more and more realize the whole Bible has but one theme and that theme is the Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently no matter how many times one may read the Bible it never grows old. I have never known the New Testament to seem so fresh as while reading it this last time.
"In early years two lines made a deep impression on me. They came to be my impelling motto:
`Slacken not pace yet at inlet or island; Straight for the haven steer, straight for the Highland.'
But the crowning motto of my life has even been that of the great Apostle, `Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
"You must not wonder at me even at seventy-five, eager to remain here in the high places of the Field, for the opportunities of service were never greater, and the outlook for a great harvest never brighter than now."—(Furnished by Miss Rose A. Huston.)—The Covenanter Witness.