A vvord to the aged. By Mr. Will. Bridge, sometime fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and late preacher of the Word of God at Yarmouth. I commend this to be reprinted as a profitable and serious discourse. James Allen.
Bridge, William, 1600?-1670.
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CHAP. I: The OLD MANS Weakness.

THERE is no state or condition of men but some grace, goodness, or virtue, may and can plant upon: as there is no occasion but some sin will grow upon,

Yet there is some grace, or virtue that is most suited unto some condition, & will grow best upon such a soyl: therefore the Apostle John saith, I write unto you Fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you young men, be∣cause ye have overcome the wicked one, I write unto you little children, because ye have known the Father, 1 E∣pistle Joh. 2. 13. It is our wisdom therefore to ob∣serve what our state and soyle is, and to plant our ground accordingly. Now old age is a dry & bar∣ren ground. The state of old age is a state of weak∣ness and of much infirmity. Solomon calls it the evil day, Eccl. 12. 1. And evil it is in regard of natural and of moral infirmities.

1. Evil in regard of natural infirmities; for the the Clouds return after the rain. In the time of youth if a man be sick and that cloud hath emptied it self by some great sickness, he is well again, & a fair day of health is upon him. But if a man be stricken with years, and a cloud of sickness doth arise upon him, Page  2 though that cloud hath discharged it self by some great distemper, yet he hath still infirmitatis post in∣gntem temestatem: stil it rains in upon him and he can hardly sit dry in his old Cottage and therefore Solomon saith of this evil day, that then the Clouds return after the rain. Then also the Sun & Moon & Stars are darkned, that is the reason, memory, fancy, & all those faculties which do receive and give out our reason, v. 2. Then the keepers of the house do trem∣blt, that is the hands and the arms, & the strong men bow themselves, that is, the thighs and legs, and the grinders cease because they are few; that is, the teeth, & those that look out of the windows be darkned, that is, the eyes, v. 3. and the doors are shut in the streets when the sound of the grinding is low, that is, the lips are shut & kept close lest the meat should fall out of the mouth through want of teeth, and all the daughters of musick are brought low, that is, both the speech & hearing, v. 4. then the Almona-tree flouri∣sheth, that is, the head grows gray and hoary, a Grashopper is a burthen, for an old man cannot bear the lightest burden, and desire faileth, that is, the ap∣petite unto meat, drink, and the Marriage bed, v. 5. then the silver Cord is loosed, that is, the marrow of the back bone which runneth from the brain through the reck to the bottom of the back, & the golden bowl is broken, that is, the Soul which is round, yellow, & doth contain and preserve the brain, and the Pitcher is broken at the Fountain, that is the blad∣der which did hold the urine, which in old age doth insensibly pass away, and the Wheel is broken at thePage  3Cistern, that is, the Lungs are broken off from their motion of respiration or inspiration by Phlegm from the Stomack, or the circulation of the blood interrupted and hindred, V. 6. Thus the natural in∣firmities of an old Man, are very many, & the day of old age is an evil day in that respect: yea, upon this account an old man is but half a man, for eyes hath he and seeth not, ears hath he and heareth not.

2 But as the day of old age is an evil day in regard of natural, so in regard of moral infirmities. For,

1. Then men are apt to be too drowsie and remiss in the things of God.

2. Then are they apt to be too covetous and te∣nacious for the things of this world: fugientem sequi∣mur Mundum: as wantonness is the young mans vice so covetousness is the old mans sin.

3. Then are they apt to be too timorous & fearful, we read but of one man that came to Christ by night out of fear, and he was a rich and old man, Nicodemus.

4. Then are they apt to be too touchy, Peevish, angry, and froward, for old age is a continued sickness, and in sickness men are apt to be angry.

5. Then are they also unapt to be taught, and are very unteachable, they think they know more then others, and that they are not now to learn, Eccles. 4 13.

6. Then are they hard to be pleased, and as hard to please others.

7. Full of complaints they are of the present times praising the former dayes of old, which the old Page  4 men of those dayes did as much complain of, as they do of these.

8. And of all men if they be not good, they are the most impenitent, for by custom and long continu∣ance in sin they are the most hardned, and so the least penitent.

9. Apt they are also to think and speak of the sins of their youth with delight, so to commit them again by thought and word, which they cannot come at by their action.

10. They are full of suspitions. and very apt to surmise, suspect and fear the worst, for, experience giving notice of former dangers keep their Souls in continual Alarm.

Having therefore, and labouring under all these and other infirmities both natural & moral a three∣fold work is incumbent upon the aged. First, to comfort and bear up themselves against their natu∣ral infirmities. 2. To strengthen themselves against their moral infirmities, & to root them out. 3. To plant that positive grace and goodness in the room thereof which doth best suit with their soyl and condition.