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Some Germans have written upon it; but very few- of our own divines. Steele s Treatise on old Age 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 persons should read, with special attention aud regard, what is particularly addressed to them, and suited to their age and circumstances. It is, no doubt, on this principle, that many volumes of sermons to young persons 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 perr suaded, have done much good. But I have not seen nor heard of any sermons immediately addressed to the Aged ;- yet, surely,. they highly deserve esteem, compassion and assistance: and they may expect, among '-.<;-.<'- - 'other
ether acts of respect and kindness, to have such advices, encouragements and consolations addressed 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 discourses. 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 eleganeedo not seem necessary in addressing , -the Aged. What is abstruse, critical and
"difficult, is here avoided, as it appeared improper and absurd to trouble persons who
>*jre 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;!
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v. These sermons were delivered in the course of my stated ministry, and most of them on the last Lord's Days of successive years; it being my custom, on those days, nto address more immediately to my aged
friends, frJends, to whom those addresses were very acceptable, and, I hope, beneficial. I was more disposed to employ some time in preparing them for the press, as Providence hath 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 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 assist them to bear and improve their afflictions as becometh Christians. The affinity there is between some of the subjects, occasioned the fame thoughts to be repeated, which could not be avoided without injustice to the subjects and the readers. On the other hand, some important thoughts
are are omitted, or only hinted at, in places where it might be expected they should have been introduced, or largely discussed; because they are inserted and enlarged upor* rn some other discourses.
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tak« this opportunity of publicly expressing my gratitude to God for the favourable reception which my volume of Discourses on secret and family Prayer, and the
•religious Observation os 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 particularly to those who have generously distributed them among poor families. I (hall esteem it a singular honour, and the ground of fervent thankfulness to God, if he is
- pleased to make these discourses subservient 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 9't" prayers,
prayers, that I may daily manifest the graces