Psalm 103:5

How can that be? We must grow old. Every day brings us nearer to old age, and there is no escaping it except by premature departure. We pass on by stages which succeed each other in regular and well marked order from infancy to the last scene of all, the second childhood, which finds us "sans teeth, eyes, taste - everything." With all of us age creeps on apace, but almost unnoticed. Now, our ideal of age shifts. Children think all grown up people old, and some very old. But when men come to the verge of three score years and ten, they will often flatter themselves that even yet they are not old. But there are certain unmistakable signs which no observant man can fail to notice, and which remind him that the day of life is on the wane. Physical fatigue; less of elasticity and power; he gives in sooner than he did when strain is put on his strength. The way the young treat us. In Thackeray's beautiful story, 'The Newcomes,' he pictures the colonel sitting in his cheerless room, and hearing his boy and his friends singing and making merry overhead. He longed to join them and share in it; but the party would be hushed if he went in, and he would come away sad at heart to think that his presence should be the signal for silence among them, and that his son could not be merry in his company. "We go into the company of young men like Chris Newcome and his friends; they cease their laughter and subdue their talk to the gravity which is supposed to be fit for the ears of the seniors. Then we know, too plainly to be mistaken, what has befallen us; we are growing older; the stamp of middle age is upon us." But if the juniors do not bring home the fact to us, the conduct of the seniors does. Old men have confidence in our judgment, grow civil as they see we are approaching to their side, and have arrived at an age when it should be no longer true that "knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." They think they can trust no man, and they consult us as they never would have done had not the dew of our youth long ago disappeared. Yes; we must grow old. And why should we regret it? It is an honour and reward which are given of God. "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, as a shock of corn," etc. The Bible never speaks of "the dreary gift of years;" and if, in melancholy mood, Moses asserts that which, thank God, is so often untrue, that in the years of old age "their strength is but labour and sorrow," the general tone of the Bible tells that days "long in the land" are God's own reward to his people. But whether we be content or no at the inevitable advance of age, there is the fact, and hence the question comes again - How can a renewed youth be? "Can a man enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Now -

I. THE TEXT DECLARES THE FACT OF RENEWED YOUTH. And this in no mere poetic sense, but literally and truly. It says, "like the eagle," which year by year renews its plumage, and so seems to renew its vigour and activity along with its new garment.

1. But the renewal of our youth is not physical. Though the bodily life be sustained and nourished by appropriate food and rest, yet, in spite of this, the physical energies succumb to the decay of nature. The outward man not only does, but must, perish. The reservoir gets lower, the constant drain is but inadequately repaired, and by and by our life has all run out. No elixir vitae can prevent this. It is inevitable.

2. But the renewal told of in the text is spiritual. As in Job 33:23-26, where not physical, but spiritual, rejuvenescence is the theme. "They go from strength to strength;" "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;" "Whoso liveth and believeth on me," said our Lord," shall never die." Of Moses it is said that his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. What an illustration have we in the life of St. Paul of this ever-renewed youth!

3. The characteristics of youth belong to such. Capacity for progress, growth, development. It is never too late for them. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." Hopefulness. The path of their life is lit up by the sunshine of the love of God, and it grows brighter and brighter. Enjoyment. The keen relish for all that is delightful is one of the blessed appanages of youth, and that which is like to it is part of the blessedness of that rejuvenescence of which we are speaking. Fulness of joy in his presence is theirs. Innocence, also. "The wicked one toucheth them not." Strength and vigour. They are as athletes in the contests which they have to wage: in the spiritual conflicts they fight, "not uncertainly, as one that beateth the air," but theirs is "the good fight," not only for the object for which it is waged, but for its manner and issue also. Such is this renewed youth.

II. EXPLAINS ITS SECRET. "He satisfieth thy mouth with good things." Christ is the Bread of their life, and they live by him. His are the "good things" by which they are sustained. This is the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which accounts for their renewed youth. They eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; he is their living Bread. They follow his footsteps, they drink into his Spirit; the mind which was in Christ is formed in them, and they grow up into him in all things.

III. ENCOURAGES US TO MAKE IT OUR OWN. Is youth yet ours? Then by yielding our young hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ, let us receive from him that eternal life, that life of the Spirit, whose youth is ever renewed. But if youth has passed away for us, let us in like manner renew it, and gain again all those blessed characteristics, only in far higher degree and manner, which are God's gift to them that are young. - S.C.

Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
"Like the eagle." I think it is helpful to contrast this figure with the figures used in the previous psalm. There we have a psalmist upon whom the renewing ministry has not yet been wrought, and he lies prone in the grip of a deep depression. "I am like a pelican of the wilderness"; this is the very figure of gloom and desolation. "I am like an owl of the desert"; he finds a fitting symbol in the bird which dwells among the ruins, and which finds no comfort in the light of day.The moping owl doth to the moon complain.And yet a third figure is used by this melancholy singer: "I am like a sparrow alone on the housetop." In his loneliness he finds a suitable emblem in the bird which has lost its mate or its young, and which abides on the house-top silent, lonely, and desolate. Now turn away from these dark and dismal figures to the one of my text. Now my text makes the inspiring declaration that the eagle type of life is the divinely-purposed possession of every man. Men and women who are in covenant with the Almighty will not appear to the world to be kinsmen of the owl and the pelican. They will rather be significant of the eagle. The eagle is, perhaps, our most majestic bird; even to see it in captivity is to behold a creature of splendid and royal build. This is the bird which is to typify the life that is in communion with God. First of all, the life will be eagle-winged. There is nothing more striking about the eagle than its mighty power of wing. The bird can soar away into uplifted mountain vastnesses, and far beyond the highest summit it can mount into the glorious blue. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles!" And our life is never completed, and we have never really come to our own, until we are in possession of these wings. It is that wing power which marks the maturity of our life, and by which we enter into our splendid destiny. Now, this wing power is just the ability to rise above our circumstances, and to soar into the "heavenly places" in Christ. We are all familiar with men and women who never get above their immediate surroundings. Such experiences have been the lot of all of us. Our immediate surroundings become our prisons, and we sit down and mope in the midst of our captivity. Life with God is life with the eagle wing; in the strength of that wing we can rise above our prison house into the purer, larger air of the Spirit. I can rise above my temptations. When snares are crowding round me, and when the enemy comes quite near, it is purposed that I should just "take wings" and find myself far above them. "Flee as a bird to your mountain!" We make a great mistake when we confront every temptation in the attitude of fight. Most of our temptations could be conquered by quietly rising into a higher sphere. And we can rise above our sorrows. And so it is with our worries and cares. Too many of us just creep and crawl, or we sit among them in cold complaint. Our destined inheritance is the heights. It is the eagle's wings we want. "Give me the wings of faith to rise!" And life in God will not only be eagle-winged but eagle-eyed. What a piercing, wide-casting eye is the dowry of the eagle! When we want a suitable figure to express our conception of a Gladstone's eye, or a Kingsley's eye, or an Emerson's eye, we go to the eagle for it. And this eagle vision is to be the gift of every soul which is in sacred covenant with God. But how this book bemoans our feeble eye. "Your eyes are dim." "Ye cannot discern." "Eyes have ye, but ye see not." "Ye are blind." But the book not only indicts us for our short and imperfect sight; it offers us the gift of splendid vision. If we had the eagle eye two things would happen. First of all, we should discern the significance of the immediate. But, secondly, we should have a sensitive discernment of the remote. We should be the first to see the little cloud on the horizon which betokens the coming rain. We should be the first to catch the faint dawning which is the herald of the coming day. No one would be before us. With the eagle eye we should get the first glimpses of the coming of the Kingdom. Now, how are these gifts of the eagle wing and the eagle eye to be obtained? They are to become ours by the ministry of renewal. God will so re-fashion us that in our recovered strength we shall be like the eagle. The words which immediately precede my text describe to us two of the ways by which this renewal is to be effected. We are to be made young by the repair of diseased tissue." He healeth all thy diseases." The gracious Lord will lay hold of powers upon which decay has fastened, and He will renew the dead matter, and make it sound again. "God by His mercies recovers His people from their decays." Decay so easily sets in! Our highest powers so speedily become destroyed. As we grow older our sympathies are apt to shrivel, and love is apt to wither, and hope loses its youthful strength. And, secondly, He will feed the sound tissue. "He satisfieth thy mouth with good things." He will remove the disease, and He will provide suitable nutriment to sustain the powers He hath renewed. And the nutriment will satisfy, and we shall have no restless and tiring cravings. "Our inner man is renewed day by day." And so in our spirits our youth can be recalled, and in strength of wing and power of eye we can be like the eagle. In old age we can have daily surprises, as we make daily discoveries of "the unsearchable riches of Christ." The whole secret of the renewal so far as we are concerned is just here; we must "wait upon the Lord." "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

(J. H. Jowett, M.A.)

These words suggest three points from which to view the great problem of human life, namely, those of the "Good," the "perfection of life," and "Satisfaction." Each of these represents an aspiration of human life, and corresponds to a conviction of what should be, and must be, in a world with an infinite wisdom, power and love on the throne of it.

I. THY "GOOD" FOR MAN MUST BE FOUND IN LIVING TRUST IN, AND UNION WITH, GOD. As in the ease of the words, "Open Thy mouth wide, and I will fill it," we have here an allusion to the relation of birds in the nest to the parent-bird. Man does not find the "good" for his life until he enters into a living spiritual relationship with God.

II. THROUGH THE ATTAINMENT OF THE "GOOD" MAN OBTAINS "PERPETUAL YOUTH." There can be no old age or decay for those into whom the life of God is flowing, for those that drink out of the fountain of good. The inner life is ever young, and grows more beautiful with the advance of time.

III. IN THIS DIVINELY-SUSTAINED AND EVER NEW LIFE MAN FINDS FULL SATISFACTION. Who satisfieth thy mouth, etc. "Fulness of life" only can bring "fulness of joy," and "fulness of life" can be found only "in the presence of God." Satisfaction cannot be full unless it is permanent. "Fulness of joy" cannot be asserted unless we are able to add "Pleasures for evermore." Eternal youth is the fount of eternal joy. In finding God man finds himself, finds life, finds joy. A "real satisfaction" even in this world of change; by and by "in God's presence" fulness of joy.

(John Thomas, M.A.)

I. A STRIKING FIGURE. The eagle is an emblem of the prosperous Christian —

1. In the penetration of its eye.

2. In the elevation of its flight.

3. In the swiftness of its motion. If the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, we cannot be dull and inactive.

4. In the dignity of its appearance. The grace of God elevates the mind and ennobles the soul. Christians are dignified in character, principles, pursuits, duties, ends and aims, and destinies.

II. A PLEASING FACT. There are times when God graciously appears on behalf of His people, in such a way, that He may be said to "renew their youth like the eagle's."

1. In the recovery of health after severe sickness.

2. In the renewal of vigour after religious decay.

3. In the restoration of joy after spiritual depression.

4. In the perpetual bloom of immortality.

(E. Temple.)

Past spiritual experience need not be a memory only, nor need the claims of the future alarm us, in Christ we have never had or been our best, from age to age through the satisfaction of our mouth with good our youth may be renewed like the eagle's.


1. Because youth's best features are of the very essence of the spiritual nature.

(1)Conscious possibility.

(2)Enjoyment of life.

(3)Untiring strength.Christianity is constant youth, it brings youth's best features with it, as it increases the more spiritually youth-like we are, according to our Lord's principle that to grow in greatness in the kingdom of heaven is to grow towards the child.

2. Because spiritual life has never reached its maturity. The Christian can never say, The best is gone. With him, better experiences, and attainments, and service are to come.

3. Because its source is untouched by the deteriorating influences of earth. "Our life is hid with Christ in God." Thus it cannot die, Christ maintains it from Himself. For the same reason it never need decline.

II. WE SOMETIMES FAIL OF THE YOUTHFULNESS OF SPIRITUALITY. We need not. It is a grave dishonour to Christ to suppose that He cannot keep us from failing, and a great injury to ourselves to suppose that anything in the nature of the ease forbids unbroken Christian progress. Therefore, though what we speak of now is a fact, let us remember that it need not be, and is only due to sin.

1. It is so when we feel our chance is gone: "Time is the great enemy," said a statesman. And so we say of our religious possibilities, "Time is the great enemy" — it destroys what we might have been. In early life we form ideals, we determine then to conquer circumstances, and rise; time passes, and the ideal fades, we think then we can only be what circumstances let us.

2. It is so, too, when we miss the sacred powers and experience of other days. For "the days that are past," with some, "were better than these."

3. And it is so, when there is nothing youth-like in our piety.


1. We have as much strength as we receive in nourishment, and no more. Every life has its proper food — vegetable life, animal life, human life, and so on; and if it be deprived of it, it fails till at last it dies. Our natural strength is the result of the food we have taken, and its maintenance, and increase, and revival depend on our feeding it. Now it is so with spiritual life, Christ is its food, "I," said He, "am the Bread of life," our life is in Him, the measure of our piety therefore is the measure of our reception of Him, we can have no more Divine life than we receive through partaking of Christ.

2. That, then, indicates the source of spiritual decline. Have we lost our youth? Have our powers, and possibilities, and joys vanished? It is due to this, and if we trace it back we shall find it so: we have neglected Christ.

3. That reveals the means of renewal. Christian young in years, and Christian young by the long retention of spiritual youthfulness, you will never grow old (faded and worn, I mean) in the Divine life, you will keep and increase your blessedness, if you but constantly feed upon Christ.

(C. New.)

Every fresh inspiration is a new beginning of life. Over the years as they slip by there will always be inscribed the apostolic saying, "Not as though I had already attained." But though perfection is ever in front, we may thank God for every experience that opens out new roads, and helps us to move forward to that which is holy and good.

1. Renewal is essential in all things. When the body ceases to form new ceils the hour of its dissolution quickly arrives. Does the imperial mind cease to delight itself in, and eagerly search after, new and brilliant aspects of truth? You know the result, how soon that mind becomes either as sweet bells jangling out of tune, or is enervated, crusted, stale, and unprofitable. Carried out into nature, the same law ordains that the capacity of the earth to sustain mankind shall depend on bursting seeds, prolific roots, opening buds, and the renewal of generous fruits. Repeated in form, they are new every year. But while renewal is at once a law, and a most marvellous manifestation of the Divine Providence, it never assumes such a profound significance as it does in the world of thought and feeling. Your ideals are opportunities for renewal; from the splendid aims and hopes they reveal you may go on to the greatness and beauty of the deeds that make them real.

2. The redemptive and saving purposes of Divine love work by and through the same law. Renovation is the guarantee of spiritual health; recreation is the secret of sustained energy, and of triumphant faith. In "Jesus our Immanuel" the words of the psalm before us find their verification. He came that He might say to the weary and storm-tossed, to the evil who repented, to the bowed-down and forsaken, to those in the guilt and slavery of iniquity, "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." He is still saying it; He is still offering to satisfy our mouths with good, that our youth, too, may be renewed.

3. Consider the powerful contrast hero set forth. Age, even though veiled with poetic grace, and having many compensations, is a time of waning powers. There is less generous enthusiasm and more of caution and prudence. On the other hand, youth is marked by splendid impulse and ardour; radiant in energy, care sits lightly on its shoulders. It is "like a morning gladness before the heat and burden of the day." In this world these conditions, so strangely distinct in features and qualities, are equally essential. We must have beginnings, the sweeter and purer the better; and we must have endings, and always is it cause for rejoicing when they are full and honourable, and the garments of time and the tools of nature are laid aside after long and faithful use. But there is no such thing as age in heaven. "Growing old in heaven is growing young." "Those that are in heaven are continually advancing to the spring of life, with a greater advance towards a more joyful and happy spring the more thousands of years they live," because "it is goodness and charity that forms and presents in them its own likeness."

(J. T. Freeth.)

I. The youth of the soul of God's child was renewed gloriously, and he entered on a new and imperishable life in HIS NEW BIRTH, — in the hour of that entire change of state and of character, of which Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again," etc. Most blessed renewing this of youth, wherein a sinner, throwing off the iniquities of a lifetime, returns back to somewhat of the very gladness, and innocence, and guilelessness, of childhood!

II. There is often a further, most blessed renewing of the soul's youth of God's child — some call it a second conversion, though the expression requires to be used cautiously — when, after a period of darkness, and distance, and spiritual decay, with, it may be, the commission of positive sin, GOD REVISITS HIS CHILD with His pardoning and sanctifying mercy, brings him to deep repentance, and restores to him the purity and the joy of His salvation.

III. But there is what I might call a more NORMAL AND PROGRESSIVE REJUVENESCENCE, — renewal of the soul's youth of the child of God, — which Paul exemplifies for us (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Oh, this is God's filling His child with all peace and joy in believing, that he may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.

IV. The youth of the soul of God's child comes to be renewed, strange to say! in the highest of all ways, IN HIS DEATH, — in that which, to the eye of sense, might seem to be the end and wreck of all. Oftentimes there are marvellous foretastes and anticipations of this in the closing hours.

(C. J. Brown, D.D.)

This thought of the renewal of youth appears again and again in the traditions and legends of mankind. As if shrinking from decay, and having somehow a conviction that man was not intended to be lost, outworn and exhausted in his earthly pilgrimage, he has had his dreams of the renewal of youth. Sometimes the dream took the shape of the legend of the phoenix, living for centuries, and when consumed rising from its ashes; or the eagle mounting up into heaven till he comes near to the seat of central fire in the sun, when scorched by the sun he casts himself into the sea; thence he emerges again with new vigour and fresh plumage, till at his hundredth year he perishes in the sea. In the text there may be an allusion to the yearly moulting of the feathers of the eagle and other birds, the eagle being selected as the liveliest image of strength and activity. And the old alchemists were searching for the elixir that would not only transmute inferior metals into gold, but would restore to man his youth, and so prolong his life, enabling him to resist disease, and set the destructive influences of nature at defiance. It was a beautiful dream. It contains a hint of man's great capacity of life, and his wondrous destiny.

I. GOD IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH. He is "from everlasting" — the underived, uncreated, unbeginning Existence; the Ancient of Days. But He is eternally young. His mercies are "new every morning." The resources of Omnipotence have not begun to fail; the energies of the Holy Spirit are not spent. The measurements of time are only a convenience to us, our dates and chronologies are nothing to God. He is clothed with the eternal beauty of youth; and new benefits, too numerous to be counted, are ever bearing witness to the freshness and constancy of His love.

II. WE, THEN, MAY RECEIVE FROM HIM THE GIFT OF PERPETUAL YOUTH. The psalmist, with the boldness of faith, speaks of the Eternal as standing in close relation to himself. Jehovah and the soul are represented as in touch with each other. "Who forgiveth all," etc. It is difficult to satisfy a human soul. Myriads are making the attempt, and failing. But here is satisfaction. The soul at rest, its longings met; no longer wandering in the market-places of the world in search of goodly pearls, it has now found the pearl of great price, it has found the "good." What is this good? Why, it is God Himself, and that is the reason why it is satisfying. "The Lord is my portion."

III. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUTH? Think of two or three. There is energy. A young man without energy is out of his place; he is "born out of due time." If he is not energetic in youth, he had better apply for a position among the lotos-eaters, and "steep his brows in slumber's holy balm." Action is identified with life. Energy, activity is the mark of the renewed nature. The rest to which it attains is not indolence, but the harmony of the powers in the service they render, the absence of all disturbing or thwarting elements, the repose of the soul in God, who is not idle, but ever working out the counsels of His own will. Youth is a time of hopefulness. It is led On and sustained by the visions of hope. Many of them may be, and probably are, only illusions; but even then they are useful. It is God's kind provision that the morning should be bright. And this trait of youth is in the renewed nature. It is begotten again to a "living hope." Many hopes are dead; they grew very weary as the years advanced, and gave up the ghost. The paths of all who forget God are strewn with the withered hopes that were once green and beautiful. But this is a living hope — living because Jesus is living, the hope of life, fulness of life, complete victory over the powers of darkness and death. And we speak of the enthusiasm, fervour, dash, daring of youth. And so there is brightness and fervour in the renewed nature. We say that the heart grows cold with age; no new friendships are formed; the interest in the outside world is lessened; the blood is more sluggish; the pulse more slow; the heart more cold. But the man who is living in the company of Jesus Christ has not a cold heart; it is burning with love to Him, and with zeal for the triumph of His cause.

IV. This NEW LIFE IS BEYOND THE POWER OF THE VISIBLE AND TEMPORAL. Suffering cannot harm it. Indeed, it has manifested its greatest beauty and shone with heavenly splendour in seasons of affliction and trouble. Death cannot harm this life. While the outward man. is decaying, the inward man is renewed day by day, moment by moment. The true life can no more die than God can die; and the change will only be a renewal of youth. Heaven is a land where the people "grow younger," and their glory never fades.

( J. Owen.)

Ever since our first parents were banished from the Tree of Life, by whose blessed medicine they were kept in undecayed vigour, mankind have sought a substitute for it in ways of their own. In Greek mythology we read the story of Medea, who, by the magic of her incantations, restored the aged to the bloom of youthful beauty. In Eastern fables we are charmed with descriptions of the Vijara Nadi, the ageless river, which makes the old young again by only seeing it; and of the spring of immortality flowing in caverns below the earth, and guarded by the pundit Kabib, where the bodies of those who bathe in it shine as if anointed with oil, and are fragrant as with the scent of violets. The South Sea islander, seeing the sun sinking, dim and weary, in the western waves, and rising again from the eastern main fresh and bright, conceived the beautiful myth of "the water of enduring life," which removes all deformity and decrepitude from those who plunge beneath its silvery surface. Among the Aleutian islanders the legend is current that in the early ages of the world men were immortal, and when they grew old had but to spring from a high mountain into a lake, whence they came forth in renewed youth. In the Mediaeval romances we are familiar with the "Fountain of Youth," and with the wanderings of pilgrims in search of its miraculously-healing waters — wonderful and adventurous as those in quest of the Sangreal, or the treasure hid at the foot of the rainbow. Rejuvenescence is the one great poetic idea of the universe. All the phenomena of the spiritual and material worlds are illustrations of it. The dream of humanity is the fact of creation; the longings that in the human world have been expressed in myths and romances have been symbolized in the objects of nature, in the epic poem of the seasons and the ages. Geology is the history of rejuvenescence on our earth. It reveals to us continual disintegration counterbalanced by continual construction; decay everywhere followed by renewal; so that all things have continued as they were from the beginning, and the earth looks as young to-day as it did on the first morning of creation. Every spring there is a rejuvenescence of the vegetable kingdom. But although most apparent at this season, — showing itself in the tender verdure of green grass, and fresh beauty of bright leaves and blossoms, — it is not the work altogether of spring. The labour of renovation begins at an earlier period; and the breath of spring only unfolds that which was preparing in silence and secrecy during the dark chill season of winter. The illustrations of rejuvenescence which zoology affords are still more interesting, because connected with a more complex organization and a higher function of life. Animal growth differs very widely from vegetable growth. The vegetable grows by means of additional cells; the animal by means of substituted cells. The cells of the plant die as soon as they are produced and have served their purpose, but they are retained in the structure and help to build it up; there being no provision made in the economy of the plant for the expulsion of dead cells. The cells of the animal on the other hand also die, but they are expelled from the body, and new ones take their place. Many animals have periodical and most curious replacements of entire organs and parts of their structure. Every one is familiar with the process of moulting in birds, in which the old feathers drop off every year and new ones are formed; this change in the plumage being accompanied by corresponding constitutional changes. Lizards, serpents, and spiders statedly cast their entire skin, and are furnished with a new one. The crab even replaces its stomach, forming a new one every year and casting away the old one. Just as plants rejuvenize by the annual renewal of their leaves and flowers, so animals rejuvenize by the annual renewal of some of their parts or organs. Passing on to man, who sums up in himself all animal and vegetable types of structure and function, and connects them with the spiritual world, whose existence is the aim to which the infinite rejuvenescences throughout all nature strive, we find that his body is subject to the same laws of growth which rule in the bodies of other animals. He, too, grows by the substitution of new particles for the old. But besides this particular and general molecular renovation, there are also periodical renewals of some organ or conspicuous portion of the body itself. The body renews its youth through fever, producing new hair and new skin, and becoming stronger and healthier afterwards. Sleep is one of the most wonderful phenomena of rejuvenescence. The mind in sleep relaxes its hold of the outward world, and becomes a mere passive mirror to reflect its images and sensations in dreams; but in this state of passivity it gathers itself into new force — into a renewed recollection of its specific purpose — and rearranges in an orderly manner all the confusions and perplexities of its waking state. It is also through the soft soothing sleep which occurs at the crisis of severe diseases that the rejuveneseence of the body occurs. Humanity rejuvenizes itself in the birth of every child; and grows young again in the youth of its children. Our own character fixed, our opinions become prejudices — this young generation with plastic minds comes forward to carry on the work of the world a few steps, and to become stereotyped in turn. In the rise and fall of nations, in the birth and death of individuals, humanity rejuvenizes itself. But the greatest of all rejuvenescences was the origin of Christianity. In the person of the child Jesus, humanity became young again. By His works the world became a new creation. Every rejuvenescence which man experiences is an additional assurance to him that, as he has borne the image of the earthy, so he will bear the image of the heavenly. This is the glorious hope set before us in the Gospel; this is the climax and consummation of all rejuvenescences here — the renewal of nature — of man's body — of his mind — his heart — his soul. All these renewals are leading to and preparing for the great renewal of heaven. The kingdom of heaven in its highest sense is the "restitution of all things." It is the New Jerusalem, the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness — not another physical world specially created for the dwelling-place of glorified humanity; but this earth itself which in all its various phases has been so closely united and bound up with the nature of man, and hallowed by the footsteps, yea, oven by the tears and blood of the Son of God Himself, and which in the end shall share in the new and wondrous birth of redemption, — "put on its glorious resurrection robes and minister delight to the ennobled senses of the redeemed."

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

A famous Roman once penned a delightful treatise intended to reconcile himself and the friend to whom it was dedicated, to the approach of old age. Much in his cheerful philosophy is worthy of the study of Christian people, though some things are superfluous; for the Bible shows to us a more excellent way. The humiliations and bitter distresses of old age need never come to us if an inward process of spiritual repair is affected to compensate the disabilities of outward decay. True religion is always fresh and glowing as the day-dawn, and if it has lost its youthfulness, decay and oblivion are inevitably before it. The Apostle Paul is pre-eminent for his unfailing youthfulness of character; no tribulation could quench the fire of his enthusiasm or destroy the buoyancy of his spirit. He speaks of himself as "Paul the aged," but neither in his mental nor spiritual life is there the slightest sign of abating vigour or failing vitality. A tree of tenacious hardihood called the tree of life grows in the Central American forests. If the leaf be cut, new buds will at once form themselves on the shorn, bleeding edge thereof, and its tenacious vitality and productiveness will be asserted in face of the fiercest injury. As we read the catalogue of the ills that failed to daunt the spirit of the apostle, we feel he must surely have eaten of the fruit of that tree. And the Giver of life repeats His wonder to those who wait in His presence. If our youth is renewed, the sorrow that has cut us to the heart will not prove itself a death-wound nor hinder our after-fruitfulness. True religion must be young, for it is an expanded childhood. Recovered youthfulness is in itself meetness for immortality. Our doctrine of an endless being would be repulsive apart from that rejuvenation of the powers which makes ready for the enjoyment of it. The sense of jadedness may weigh upon our anticipations of heaven. For the appreciation of this world as well as that which is beyond it, we need a replenished inward life. In nine cases out of ten when Alexander weeps it is not that he has no more worlds to conquer, but because he has so worn himself out that he cannot possess the world which lies at his feet. We have come to speak of the activities of heaven as various, including widely differentiated ministries as well as worship; and rightly so, for a monotonous immortality would be a curse grievous to bear. But the cure for monotony often lies within. The ever-lengthening duration of life apart from its replenishment with new faculties and new enthusiasms would be intolerable. There must be that constant renewal of the youth of which devout worshippers of God in every period of the world's history have had experience. And the writer of the Apocalypse, in describing his visions, is mindful of this need. Life blooms with a vernal freshness that never stales. The river that flows through the celestial city and the fountains to which the Shepherd King leads His redeemed flock are symbols of vitality and perpetual renewal. It is always springtide, for the trees yield their fruit every month. Let us live in the fellowship of Jesus Christ, and be baptized with His Spirit, and we shall then be ever renewing our life. "Your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams." The dreams of old men who receive the Spirit are as rich, as far-ranging, as many-hued as the visions of the young men. Cherishing this Spirit, however deep our wounds and fierce and wasting our conflicts, we shall not fail in warmth and hope and fresh springing force.

(T. G. Selby.)

All occupations and professions have afforded illustrations of rejuvenescence. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, lived one hundred and nine years, and among those eminent in the medical profession who became septuagenarians, and octogenarians, and nonagenarians, were Darwin, Gall, Boerhaave, Jenner and Ruyseh, observing themselves the laws of health that they taught their patients. In art, and literature, and science, among those who lived into the eighties were Plato, and Franklin, and Carlyle, and Goethe, and Buffon, and Halley. Sophocles reached the nineties. You cannot tell how old a man is from the number of years he has lived. I have known people actually boyish in their disposition at eighty years of age, while Louis II, King of Hungary, died of old age at twenty. Haydn's oratorio, "The Creation," was composed at seventy years of age. Humboldt wrote his immortal work, "The Cosmos," at seventy-five. William Cullen Bryant, at eighty-two years of age, in my house, read without spectacles "Thanatopsis," which he had composed when eighteen years of age. Isocrates did illustrious work at ninety-four. Leontinus Gorgias was busy when death came to him at one hundred and seven years of age. Herschel, at eighty years of age, was hard at work in stellar exploration. Masinissa, King of Numidia, at ninety years of age, led a victorious cavalry charge against the Carthaginians. Titian was engaged on his greatest painting when he died, in his one hundredth year. How often they must have renewed their youth!

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Commenting upon the words, "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's," Mr. Jowett paid a beautiful tribute to "The youngest deacon of my church," the old man who is always the child of the morning, the revolutionary, and the Radical in his party. "I have never heard him speak about sunsets. He is a child of God, his youth is renewed every day, he will die with his face to the east, looking for the morning."

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