Three Bad Companions!
James Smith, 1864
We are all of us, at times, thrown into company which we do not like; and when so, the best thing we can do is to get out of it as quickly as possible! But sometimes we find that this is more easily said, than done. I have seen some aged people pestered with these very bad companions, and they could not get rid of them if they would!
That the young may beware of these rascals, I will point them out:
POVERTY is the first bad companion. This is often brought on by imprudence, and lack of frugality. When work was good, and health was strong — no provision was made for a rainy day. By and bye, trade failed, strength departed, and old age came on — and then appears the pitiable object, a poor old man! We shall need many little comforts in old age, which we can very well do without now while in good health; therefore, if God has given us the opportunity, let us lay aside a little for old age.
It is hard to beg when the head is gray, to be frowned upon by the wealthy, or be obliged to go into "the workhouse." These things may be avoided by many, if they would live frugally.
Reader, if you are young, make up your mind, that if poverty should be your companion when you are old, that you will be able to say, "This was not brought on by my intemperance, self-indulgence, or forgetfulness of the future — but by the wise providence of God!" Then you will have a source of comfort, which many elderly people have deprived themselves of.
PAIN is the second bad companion. The pains of old age often spring from the follies, sins, and recklessness of youth. Pain cannot always be prevented — but very much is brought on by ourselves. Many old people are full of pains, which are the effects of their carelessness, rashness, and wickedness in youth. A poor old man full of pain is to be pitied; and yet if we knew the origin of many of his pains — we would be obliged to say that he himself is to be blamed. Friends, if you would not have pain for a companion when you are old — live simply, take regular exercise in the open air, and stay away from rich foods.
PROCRASTINATION is the third bad companion. This has been called "the thief of time!" As, therefore, it would steal one of your most precious jewels — beware of it!
A poor old man without salvation — what a pitiful object! A poor old man without Christ — what a sad sinner! He has been warned of delay. He has been invited to Christ. He has been urged to decide for God. He has been exhorted to enter in at the strait gate. But he has put these things away from him. He has spent his time and talents entirely about temporal things; and now he needs the gospel to comfort him — but he has no saving religion; now he needs a Savior to take him to Heaven — but he is without one. His heart is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; and though we know that while there is life there is hope, it seems as if his day was past, as if God had given him up and said, "Let him alone!"
Poor old man, he is full of pain, destitute of many earthly comforts which he might have secured, and what is worse, infinitely worse — he is without any holy peace at present, or true hope for the future!
Dear reader, endeavor now to secure deliverance from these evils. You may live to be old, therefore close in with Christ at once. Procrastination, you can avoid; much pain, perhaps you may prevent; and shivering poverty, you may keep outside the door. Do so, if possible — at least, try! And if you fail, you will have comfortable reflections; and if Christ is yours, the hope of glory will cheer you to the end!