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Some Germans have written upon it; but very few of our own divines. Steele's
Treatise on old Ağe is very useful, and was much esteemed and read in the last century, but is now become scarce, and almost forgotten. "The tracts of Davies and Peers, though serious and useful, chiefly centre in one point, and that not sufficiently peculiar, viz. Preparation for Death and Eternity. It seems natural that perfons should read, with special attention and regard, what is particularly addreffed to them, and fuited to their age and circumstances. It is, no doubt, on this principle, that inany volimesi of fermons to young perfons have been published within the last forty years: and, of late, particular addresses have been made, from the press to the poor and the great, and to young persons of each sex, which have been well received, and, I am persuaded, have done much good. But I have not seen nor heard of any sermons immediately addresfed to the Aged; yet, surely, they highly deserve esteem, compassion and assistance : and they may expect, among
other acts of respect and kindness, to have such advices, encouragements and consola tions addreffed to them, as may, by the
blessing of God, contribute to make their -old age honourable, comfortable, and useful,
and smooth the last scenes of their lives. This is attempted in the following discourfes. I am far from pretending to equal the composures of my honoured fathers and brethren, who have addressed to the Young. · But much accuracy, sprightliness and eleganee do not seem necessary in addressing the Aged. What is abstruse, critical and difficult, is here avoided, as it appeared improper and abfurd to trouble persons who are in the decline of life with such things : and I have long observed that they are best pleased with what is plain, simple and affectionate. * :
· These sermons were delivered in the course of my stated ministry, and most of them on the last Lord's Days of succeffive years; it being my custom, on those days, to address more immediately to my aged
friends, to whom those addresses were very acceptable, and, I hope, beneficial. I was more disposed to employ fome time in preparing them for the prefs, as Providence bath rendered me incapable of being useful in other ways; and as I am myself declining into the vale of years, and, by long continued daily infirmities, got very far into it. From much experience, therefore, I know how to pity the Aged under their infirmities and decays, and desire to be their humble monitor and comforter.
i s ! : 3 I hope the subjects of these discourses will be thought suitable to the circumstances of the generality of the Aged; and that other infirm and afflicted persons, though not old, may find some things in this volume which may allilt them to bear and improve their afflictions as becometh 'Chriftians. The affinity there is between fome of the subjects, occafioned the same thoughts to be repeated, which could not be avoided without injustice to the subjects and the readers. On the other hand, fome important thoughts
are omitted, br only hinted at, in places where it might be expected they should have been introduced, or largely discussed; because they are inserted and enlarged upon in some other discourse... :
I take this opportunity of publicly expressing my gratitude to God for the fa. vourable reception which my volume of Discourses on secret and family Prayer, and the religious Obfervation of the Lord's Day, hath met with ; and would also acknowledge my obligations to my friends, and many others, who have recommended and encouraged the spread of them ; and particu. Jarly to those who have generously diftributed them among poor families. I shall esteem it a fingular honour, and the ground of fervent thankfulness, to God, if he is pleased to make these discourses fubfervient to the holiness and consolation of my aged brethren, and other companions in the tribulation and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ. To them they are very respectfully dedicated : and I entreat their earnest
prayers, that I may daily manifest the graces which I recommend to their cultivation ; that I may finilh my course with joy, and meet them in that world of everlafting health and vigour, glory and felicity, for which all our afflictions and decays, all our religious privileges and the means of graec, are designed to prepare us. Amen.