Address to Aged Communicants

Each returning Sacramental Sabbath emphasizes the thought to us all, that we are nearer eternity. These sacred seasons are shadows moving across the dial-plate—or as if another hour were tolled on the great clock of Time. With special solemnity and impressiveness does this reflection come home to aged communicants. Some of you can look back, through a long vista of years, to the hour when you approached for the first time the Holy Table. How many who then gathered with you are left? The pastor who dispensed to you the mystic symbols—gone! The father and mother who looked with proud and tender interest upon you; following you with prayers and tears to the hallowed ground—gone! Those who shared with you in receiving the Bread of life, and talked over the sacred service on the Sabbath eve—many of them—most of them—gone! It is a tale that is told. Yes, to some, there are many more remembered faces of that old throng amid the congregation of the dead, than among the worshiping living!

And the time will come—(must come) sooner or later—who need dread it if they are living prepared for the supreme moment and the irrevocable summons?—when others will pronounce our names, and say of us, 'They are no more!' Who can tell, but that the Master may this very day have, all unknown, been whispering in the ears of this one and that one, grown grey in His service—"You shall henceforth no more drink of this fruit of the vine, until I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom!"

Aged friend, you have been permitted to wait once more, on God, in His own Ordinance. Spiritually, may He renew your strength. He has 'latter rain' as well as 'early rain' to bestow—a blessing on those girding for the fight—a blessing for those unbuckling their armor. The Temple-lamps in the Jewish Sanctuary were lighted 'at evening.' If the night-shadows of your life be falling, and with you the day be far spent, may you be able to say, "YOU will light my candle, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Beautiful is the promise—"Ask of the Lord rain in the time of THE LATTER RAIN—so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain" (Zech. 10:1). May you be privileged to go on—in what still remains of your pilgrim way, rejoicing—leaning, as a staff for very age, on the faithful promises of a covenant-keeping Jehovah—preserving the torch of faith and love and holiness undimmed to the last.—So that you may be able, like the weary exhausted runners in the Grecian games of old—to hand it, undiminished in brightness, to younger athletes, who are waiting to bear it—as witnesses for God and His truth, when you are gathered to your fathers.

Go in peace, from His table; and may the God of peace and of love go with you. Amid dimming memories and diminishing friends, "He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you." May your holy approach to the holiest Ordinance of earth, be to you the foretaste and foretaste of the eternal Feast and rest which remains for His believing people. "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disturbed within me? Hope you in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God!"