THE INNER LIFE  by Octavius Winslow

Gray Hairs

(The Inner Life in its Gradual and Imperceptible Relapse)

"Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knows it not; yes, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows it not." -Hosea 7:9.

Such is the graphic and mournful description of that peculiar state of backsliding which must be regarded as the most dangerous and alarming, because the most insidious and concealed, of all processes of spiritual relapse from God. It is not a surprisal into sin, a sudden fall before the power of a strong temptation, a stolen march of the enemy upon the tardy steps of the celestial traveler- a man overtaken by a fault- but it is the slow, gradual, yet certain relapse of the inner life, lulling all suspicion of its existence, and veiling itself from the most searching eye. Having its original in the Jewish Church, it will not yet be difficult to point out the strong resemblance of this spiritual portrait to a large portion of the Christian Church in the present day- professors of religion, office-bearers, sentinels upon the outposts of the camp, workmen upon the scaffolding of the building, in whose souls this species of spiritual decline, and decay of the Divine life may be proceeding, like the footfall of death, stealthy and unsuspected; or like the progress of age, gradual and unobserved. "Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knows it not; yes, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows it not."

Deeply and solemnly impressed with this consideration, we propose to spread before the Christian professor several distinct views of this state of spiritual relapse, each one unveiling a new symptom, and presenting a new phase of the disease. Having in the preceding chapter explained the nature of the inner life of the believer, and glanced at its tendency to decay, we now proceed with a more minute analysis of our subject. May the Holy Spirit be our teacher! May we be kept from unprofitable speculation, and from all trifling with a case so desperate, and with a theme so momentous! May an unction from the Holy One impart a searching, personal, and sanctifying application of the truth to our hearts!

The first idea which the passage suggests is that of spiritual loss. "Strangers have devoured his strength." The existence of real strength in the soul is here supposed. All spiritual declension in the true believer necessarily implies the actual possession of grace. We must not lose sight of this truth. Never, in the lowest condition of the believer, does Christ deny his own work in the soul. "You have a little strength," are his heart-melting words to the backsliding Church in Sardis. O what a gracious, patient Savior is ours! But there is a real loss affirmed. It may be proper to inquire what are some of these strangers that devour the spiritual strength of the believer?

The world may be quoted as a prominent and formidable one. The world is a strange thing to a child of God. It is but his temporary dwelling, not his home; the inn at which he tarries for a night, not his abiding place; his path, rough and perilous, to his Father's house. It is a strange world to one who is born of God. Its principles are strange, its policy is strange, its maxims are strange its pleasures are strange, its religion is strange, its entire genius and inhabitants are strange to him whose citizenship is of heaven, and whose treasure and heart are there. He sojourns in it, he passes through it only as a stranger and pilgrim. And yet- melancholy truth!- this stranger devours the spiritual strength of many a Christian professor! The power which the ungodly world still maintains over the renewed mind, and the influence which it exerts in modifying and deteriorating the religion of many professing Christians, is of an appalling character.

I am solemnly convinced that the world, in its relation to the religion of the day, is the giant snare and the crying evil of our times. It is not the world in one form only, but the world in its many shapes, its numerous forms of fascination and power, which gives it so amazing and subtle an influence over the Christian Church. Were the onset of the world from one quarter only, familiarity with its mode of attack, and experience gathered from its past assaults, might place the Christian upon his guard. But, like the impersonation of vice, portrayed by Solomon, its "ways are moveable, and cannot be known." There is no shape it cannot assume, no garb it will not wear, no plea it may not urge, no concession it is not prepared to yield, thus to obtain the ascendancy over the Christian's mind.

Alas! the infidel expediency of the day, and the compromising character of the prevailing religious profession, present but little obstruction, and offer but faint resistance to its rapid and alarming encroachments. There is everything in the easy Christianity of the times to court, and but little to discourage, the advances of the world upon the Church- impairing its strength, crippling its efforts, and shading its luster. The facile compliance with its solicitations, the inordinate attachment to its principles, the sinful conformity to its customs, the humiliating participation in its pleasures, form the grand secret of the dwarfish religion of so many who ought to have arrived at the "stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus." This strange world has devoured their spiritual strength, and thus the life of God in their souls is stunted in its growth, and they are but infants when they ought to be men; dwarfs when they should be giants in knowledge, in grace, and in holiness.

The policy of the world; the gay enjoyments of the world; the self indulgence of the world; the soaring ambition of the world; the vain glory of the world; the sinful alliances of the world; the covetous, grasping desires of the world; the love of vain show and fondness for dress; and the easy religion of the world; are the fearful and fatal snares into which many professing Christians are drawn. The ball; the gay party; the concert; the novel; the whist; the drama; O how do these things devour the little strength that some seem to possess; to what small dimensions do they contract their Christianity; how do they wither and shrivel up their religion, reducing their spiritual power of resistance to an infant's weakness!

Professor of religion! can you cross the broad separating line between the Church and the world, can you transact business with it for a day, or participate in its pleasures for an hour, and come forth with the locks of your spiritual strength as thick and flowing as before? Impossible! You have suffered a real loss; and you cannot but be sensible of it. There is an exhaustion in the soul, a wound in the conscience, a deadness in the spirit, a vagrancy of thought, an indolence and listlessness of mind, with feelings which partake more of earth and less of heaven, which unfit you for communion with God, incapacitate you for any spiritual duties whatever, and leave you, like Samson despoiled of his glory, the victim and the sport of the uncircumcised Philistines. "Are you also become weak as we are? are you become like unto us?" is the exclamation of the world that has thus cruelly robbed you of your vigor, and now exultingly taunts you with your loss.

O! it is "for this cause many are weak and sickly, and many sleep." I repeat it with earnestness and in bitterness of soul- the world- the WORLD is the deadly foe, and worldliness is the crying sin of the Church of God. This is the great hindrance to the success of the Christian ministry, and the growth in grace of many who are "called to be saints." You profess to have separated yourselves from the world, to not be of the world, and by the cross of Jesus to be dead to the world; and yet how opposite and falsifying is your practice! You mix up with the world, you float down the stream with the world, you woo and embrace the world; and but for the enrolment of your name upon the records of the Church, and your punctilious appearance at the communion table of the Lord, we should scarcely suspect that you were a follower of him who solemnly and emphatically declared, "My kingdom is not of this world."

But, take warning! Upon this rock numbers who once walked outwardly with Jesus, have made shipwreck of faith, and walk with him no more. One of the most heart-affecting sentences the apostle ever penned was the record of such a case: "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world." He was a professed Christian, was baptized as a believer, and was the companion and associate of the apostle. But he loved the world, and loving the world he forsook the apostle; and forsaking the apostle he forsook Christ; and forsaking Christ he forsook the way of holiness, the way of happiness, the way of heaven. And where is he now! No mention is made of his restoration. No record is left of his return as a penitent to the cross. All that we know of his melancholy history is a solemn warning to professors to
shun the world, and to beware of worldliness, as the foe and the bane of their religion.

O, listen to the faithful yet tender pleadings of the Spirit- "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed in the spirit of your mind. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away." Listen to the words which warn you against contracting unholy alliances, either in the way of business or of marriage, with the people of the world- "Don't you know you that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; therefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Christian professors! can you resist these touching appeals? Will you not retire from their perusal, resolved, that "by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, "from henceforth you will "keep yourselves unspotted from the world?"

Again, with increased earnestness we beseech you, love not the world- imitate not the world- go not needlessly into the world! It is a cruel, treacherous, soul-destroying world. It crucified your Lord, and seeks nothing less than your eternal destruction. Come out of it, and let your unearthly principles, and holy enjoyments, and heavenly mindedness, and simplicity of walk, integrity and uprightness in all your transactions with the world, be a witness against it for God, for Christ, and for eternity. Labor for its good, pray for it, be kind and gentle to it, and, if need be, suffer for it; but let your daily motto be- the mark of Christ upon your forehead- "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

The unsubdued power of indwelling sin must be regarded as occasioning the Christian severe spiritual loss. Even where there is the absence of that outward worldly conformity of which we have been speaking, there may yet
be the prevalency of unmortified corruption in the heart, secretly and silently, but effectually undermining the fabric of the soul's strength. Alas! how effectually does this 'stranger' devour the vigor of our faith, the fervor of our love, the power of our prayers, the simplicity of our confidence in God. In how many sad instances of secret declension, of outward backsliding, and of avowed apostasy from God, may the evil be traced to this cause! Sin dwells in the heart of the most deeply sanctified, is ever at work in the most eminent Christian; and it has been truly remarked, that the best of saints have need to be warned against the worst of sins. Where there is not, then, a perpetual battle with this hidden foe, a constant mortification through the Spirit of this deep-seated, veiled corruption, the most dire and mournful consequences must ensue. Hence the agitation of doubts and fears, the drooping wing of faith, the powerlessness of the promises, the unanswered prayers, the plague in the camp, the ship in the storm- the Achan and the Jonah. Nothing enfeebles a Christian man like this. No 'stranger' devours his strength more voraciously and effectually. It closes the heart to the fruitful reception of the word, and shuts up heaven to the dew and the rain of the Spirit's grace. The idol of the soul still occupies its niche, and is enthroned upon its pedestal; and so long as it is not deposed and removed, the Spirit retires, God ceases to answer prayer, and there is no profitable trading between the soul and heaven, and no refreshment flowing through the channel of means and ordinances. These are solemn words; "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their faces; should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord God, Every man of the house of Israel that sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him that comes, according to the multitude of his idols." "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." "Strangers have devoured his strength."

But in what does this mortification of sin consist? We reply, in nothing less than the drying up of its fountain, the destruction of its root. The great evil and power of sin lies in the sin of our nature, the body of death which we bear about with us. And herein consists true mortification- the slaying of the principle from where all sin proceeds; the subduing of the original corruption, the strength of which weakens the actings of grace, by impairing the principle of grace. O, then, be earnest in seeking this attainment! Do not be content to arrest the stream while the fountain runs; nor to sever the branches while the root remains. But going to the source of the evil, descending to the depth of the corruption, begin the holy work where the potency of sin mainly lies.

What is your predominant sin? -lay the axe at its root. Seek its death and destruction, or it will be death and destruction to you, as long as it prevails. It must bring a deathliness into the life of God within you, and prove the ruin of your peace and joy and happiness. "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die; but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live." O, then, take this 'stranger' which seeks to devour your strength, to the cross of Jesus, and transfix it there; and as it dies, your soul shall live. Nothing but the cross of Jesus will prove its death, and your life. "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live." There must be the crucifixion before the life. Christ's death for sin must be our death unto sin.

No more outward mortification, no fastings, nor self-inflictions, nor painful austerities, will ever weaken the principle or mortify the root of sin. Nothing but faith in the atoning blood of the Son of God can effectually meet the case. Far be it from me to speak indifferently of that aid to the mortification of indwelling sin which God's word encourages. I would not lightly esteem, as auxiliary to faith in the atonement, the diligent reading of the word- frequent meditation upon its truths- seasons of retirement from others, and from surrounding objects- private communion with God- self-examination- self-judging, and honest, minute confession of sin. Nor would I overlook the immense blessing which often flows from deep affliction, from painful, bitter trial, traced in the deeper mortification of sin in the temper, spirit, and life of the true believer.

But in this great and solemn work our constant motto must be, "Looking unto Jesus." Without the eye of faith upon the cross, apart from the efficacy of the atoning blood, and the power of the grace that is in Jesus, there can be no effectual progress in the real work of sanctification. One sight of a crucified Savior imparted by the Holy Spirit will more effectually weaken the power of indwelling sin than all other means combined. O the might of the cross! O the virtue of the blood! O the power of the grace of Jesus to crucify, cleanse, and subdue our iniquities! Allow not this 'stranger,' then, any longer to devour your strength, seeing Jesus can enable you to oppose it, and will crown your sincere and persevering opposition with a certain and glorious victory. "He will subdue our iniquities."

Spiritual decay is another idea suggested by the expressive figure of the passage- "Gray hairs are here and there upon him." These 'GRAY HAIRS' are decided 'evidences of backsliding'. And what are some of them? What are a few of the more marked SYMPTOMS OF SPIRITUAL DECAY in the soul? A lessened appreciation of Jesus is a clear and affecting evidence of spiritual relapse. Once he was, in your estimation, "the chief among ten thousand." He was
the sovereign of your hearts. 'His name was as ointment poured forth.' He was to you as the "apple tree of the woods." You "sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to your taste." His cross attracted you, his love constrained you, his voice charmed you, his person was all your admiration, and his work all your boast. O how precious was Jesus to you then! You never thought his yoke irksome, nor his burden heavy, nor his cross painful. No time spent with him was deemed lost; no sacrifice made for him was counted costly; no labor for him was wearisome; no shame, or ignominy, or suffering for his sake, was worthy of a thought. The secret of all was- you loved the Savior with a deep and intense affection. But the 'gray hair' has appeared! Jesus is less precious to you now. Reverse the picture, just drawn of your former self, and you have the faithful portrait of your soul's present state! Your love has waxed cold, the ardor of your affection has waned, your heart is divided, other objects have displaced the Savior; and if you follow him at all, it is like Peter, "a great way off." Is not this real decay? "Gray hairs are here and thereupon him."

Another symptom is, neglected prayer. I will not say that the habit of prayer is entirely relinquished; but the spirit and fervor of prayer seem greatly to have evaporated. The time was when communion with God was the element in which you lived. You could more conveniently live without your daily food, and even pass your nights without sleep, than live without prayer, or compose yourself to rest without converse with God. That was registered as a lost day which found you holding no filial communion with your Heavenly Father-spending no blissful moments with Jesus. O happy days! How precious their memory! How sanctifying their recollection! Then, your walk was with God- your "fellowship truly was with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ." You were wont to take every thing to the throne of grace. As your needs came, you told your Father; and as your sorrow was felt, you laid it upon Jesus. You walked with God in everything, in the most minute circumstances in your history. And O what an opening was there of the heart of God to you at the mercy-seat! More truly, and how much more fully, was God wont to realize to you the promise to Moses- "There I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy-seat." But the 'gray hair' is seen- sad symptom of decay in prayer. As to frequency and power, earnestness and success-as to any real communion, any filial, confidential opening of the heart to God, there is a palpable and melancholy failing off. Weak in prayer, you have no longer power with the Angel of the Covenant to prevail. Is not this decay? "Gray hairs are here and there upon him."

The neglect of confession is an undoubted symptom of a state of soul backsliding from God. Perhaps there is not one more strongly indicative of the true decay of grace in the heart than this. When the habit of a contrite acknowledgment of sin is cherished, when a daily confession over the head of the atoning Sacrifice is made, and the blood is thus constantly sprinkled upon the conscience, the soul maintains, even in its advance to the "stature of the perfect man," all the vigor and beauty of youthful piety. There is a freshness and verdure which distinguish the soul in close proximity to the 'open Fountain'. But the "gray hair" betrays a change in this holy habit. It is now almost entirely neglected; or, if not quite abandoned, is yet performed in so careless and partial a manner, as to rob it of all its power, and neutralize all its efficacy. Your acknowledgment of sin is so general and heartless, blended with so imperfect a view of the turpitude of the sin confessed, with so feeble a sense of holy, humble contrition- in a word, the true spirit and posture of confession are so entirely absent, as to deprive the whole performance of its character, and to render it of none effect. This was not always the state of your soul. In times that are past, the least sin gave you distress, the slightest speck upon the conscience made you uneasy, and you could not rest until you had told it to the Lord, and had sought and found a renewed application of the peace-speaking blood. Surely this is a manifest decay of grace in your soul. "Gray hairs are here and there upon him."

A slighting of the means of grace, and the ordinances of God's house, is not the least mark of a state of heart-backsliding. How 'green' were these 'pastures' once to your soul! How you hailed the arrival of the hour that took you to them! How you delighted to walk and feed in them! To have neglected the assembling of the saints- to have refused to meet them for praise and prayer- as, alas! the manner of some is- to have turned your back upon the house of God, upon the ministry of the word, upon the ordinance of the Lord's supper, upon the hour of gathered prayer, would have filled your heart with inexpressible pain. But, ah! you can do so now without an emotion! Your place is often vacant in the sanctuary- at the Lord's table- and when others meet to promote the kingdom of Christ; and yet your absence creates in your heart no sense of loss, and awakens in your conscience no alarm nor sorrow. The preached word, when you are in attendance, does not profit you. You have lost your relish for a Christ-exalting, soul-awakening, soul-winning, soul-searching, soul-loving ministry, and can only tolerate that service which intones its lullaby to your drowsy spirit, or deepens the slumber in which you are profoundly locked.

To this we must add your sad lack of sympathy for the salvation of others. Ah! what can more truly betray the real condition of your own soul than your cruel, criminal apathy, in view of the multitudes perishing around you without the 'vision,' each one raising that wail of agony, as it passes away- "No man cared for my soul!" These are some of the "gray hairs" which indicate a weakening and decay of the kingdom of God within the soul.

But there is one feature of this state of backsliding brought out by the prophet which we must not overlook. I allude to the ignorance and insensibility which mark it. "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knows it not; yes, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows it not." It is by slow and imperceptible degrees that time steals upon us. Old age never surprises a man. We are not young today, and old tomorrow. Today, reveling in all the life, elasticity, and buoyancy of youth- and tomorrow, suffering from all the melancholy effects of senility. But we grow old by degrees: "Gray hairs are here and there upon us, and we know it not." Thus is it with the progress of spiritual declension. A Christian professor may lose the power and freshness of grace in his soul, and for a time not be sensible of his loss. This I consider to be the most alarming symptom of his case. For a man to be going further and further from God, losing ground every moment, the 'gray hairs' thickening around him while he continues insensible to his condition- supposing that all is prosperous with his soul, when all is the very reverse- is alarming in the extreme. The case of Samson, already alluded to, fully illustrates this trait. While in a state of slumber we read that his wife Delilah, "called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he did not know that the Lord was departed from him." How soon the strong man had become weak! Strangers had devoured his strength, and he knew it not! Thus is it with many a Christian professor. Asleep upon the lap of some sinful self-indulgence, his enemies come upon him and severed the locks in which his might lay- and he knows not that the Lord has departed from him.

You are ignorant, too, of the great extent of your backsliding from God. You are not aware how far you have gone, what a fearful breach has been made between God and your soul; what a distance has come between Jesus and your spirit. You are not sensible how many steps you will have to retrace before you recover what you once so blissfully possessed- the presence of God, the witness of the Spirit, the consciousness of your being a pardoned sinner, an adopted child.

There is, too, an alarming unconcern as to your state. It becomes a matter of very little importance to you, whether God sees in you a growing conformity to his image, or a growing conformity to the world. You have been robbed of the locks of your strength, and either you do not know it, or are coldly indifferent to it.

But let us, in closing, briefly trace this melancholy state to some of its CAUSES, that we may be better able to point out its appropriate remedy. The first cause undoubtedly is, the unguarded state of your soul. A merchant or a tradesman accustomed to neglect his accounts through the year must be prepared to find himself at its close in a state of embarrassment and uncertainty as to his actual position- his affairs bordering perhaps on a state of insolvency. A Christian living in the daily neglect of self-examination must not marvel if, at a certain period of his religious course, he finds himself trembling upon the brink of gloomy despondency, his evidences gone, his hope obscured, and all the past of his Christian profession appearing to his view as a fearful delusion. But here let me suggest the cure. Examine before God the real state of your soul. Ascertain where you have lost ground. Retrace your way. Look honestly and fairly at your condition. Do not be appalled at it. Discouraging and repelling as it may appear, look it fully in the face, and lay it open before God exactly as it is, in the spirit and language of the Psalmist, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

I quote the grieving of the Spirit of God as a most fruitful cause of your present state of spiritual relapse. We have yet much to learn of our entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and of our eternal obligation to him for all the blessings of which he is the author and the conveyancer. What themes for grateful contemplation to the spiritual mind are the love of the Spirit- the faithfulness of the Spirit- the tenderness of the Spirit- the grace of the Spirit- the patience of the Spirit! And yet, in the long catalogue of the believer's backslidings, not the least is, his grieving this Holy Spirit of God. To this must be traced that barrenness and unfruitfulness, that premature decay, those spiritual relapses, which impart a death-like, skeleton appearance, to the Christianity of so many of its professors. Their worldliness grieves him- their sinful indulgences grieve him- their light, frothy conversation grieves him- their inattention to his 'still small voice,' and their forgetfulness of all his kindnesses grieves him- and suspending, but not wholly withdrawing, his gracious influence, their souls become like Mount Gilboa, upon which no dew rested. But there is a remedy. Seek that Spirit whom you have driven from your presence; implore his return, beseech him for Jesus' sake to revisit you, to breathe his reviving influence as of old upon your soul, "that the spices thereof may flow out," and that your "beloved may come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Then will return the happy days of former years, the sweet seasons of your early history, and you shall "sing as in the days of your youth, and as in the day when you came up out of the land of Egypt."
"Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made you mourn,
And drove you from my breast."

Distance from the cross has contributed greatly to your present state of spiritual relapse. Retiring from beneath its shelter and its shade, you have left the region of safety, light, and peace, and, wandering over the mountains of sin, worldliness, and unbelief, have lost yourself amid their darkness, solitude, and gloom. Finding in your backslidings no 'green pastures,' nor refreshing spring, nor shadowing rock, nor sweet repose, you have been almost ready to lie down, weary, faint, and bewildered. Turning away from the cross of Jesus, you have lost the view you once had of a sin-pardoning, reconciled Father; and judging of him now by his providences and not by his promises, and contemplating him through the gloomy medium of a conscience unsprinkled with the blood of Christ, you are disposed to impeach the wisdom, the faithfulness, and the love, of all his conduct towards you. But listen to the remedy. Yield yourself afresh to the attractions of the cross. Return, return to it again. No burning Cherubim nor flaming sword guards its avenue. The atoning blood, there shed, has opened the way of the sinner's approach, and the interceding High Priest in heaven keeps it open for every repentant prodigal. Return to the true cross. Come and sit down beneath its grateful shade. Poor, weary wanderer! there is life and power, peace and repose, for you still in the cross of Christ. Mercy speaks from it, God smiles in it, Jesus stands by it, and the Holy Spirit, hovering above it, is prepared to reveal it to you afresh, in all its healing, restoring power.

And is it thus that 'strangers' have devoured your strength, and that 'gray hairs are here and there' upon you? Do not despair of a better state. How powerful and persuasive the motives to your return to God which we have arrayed before you! The Father holding out his hand- Jesus alluring you- the Holy Spirit bending over you- and your vacant seat at the gospel-feast, so long deserted, still inviting your return. Say not, O wandering child, O mourning penitent, "My way is hidden from the Lord." No! His eye has been upon you in all your waywardness and wanderings; and now, in the tender character and with the quenchless, deathless love of a Father, he is on the watch for your return. Will he upbraid that loss of spiritual strength? Will he despise those thin, gray hairs? O no! "He gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."