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Tuis volume lias been prepared for persons of mature and advanced years, under the conviction that such a work will fill a space in our literature, and with a hope that it will prove a blessing to all its readers.
There are numerous volumes for children and youth. Books abound for young men and young women, and for men and women in life's various relations and pursuits, but only a few volumes have ever been prepared for those who are passing through the afternoon and evening of life.
There are numerous periodicals for children and youth, and young people, and departments in many more for these classes, but there are no periodicals, and no departments in any, for the aged.
This volume is a religious miscellany for the mature and the aged. But, it is intended to do more than simply provide interesting and entertaining reading for such persons. The author has sought to enrich its pages by such articles as will impart instruction and comfort to the aged, teaching how the later years of life may be spent, so that they shall constitute the happiest and most useful of all life's periods.
There can be no reason why the period of life at “ Fifty and Beyond” may not be rich in usefulness, and abundant in its comforts and joys. Did men expect this, and in the earlier periods of life prepare for it, they would find this period in its usefulness and comforts exceeding their highest hopes.
The articles which have been prepared for this volume, by the following eminent physicians, and distinguished
divines, will be read with great interest: N. S. Davis, M.D., LL.D.; J. S. Jewell, M.D., and E. L. Holmes, M.D., and Rev. Drs. Edwards, Patterson, Paddock, Crews, Ninde, Fallows, Reddy, Jewett, and Rev. Glen Wood, and also the articles of Joseph Richardson, M.D., and Rev. Dr. Wentworth, which, though not specially prepared for this volume, are valuable contributions to it.
To all these writers the author is under great obligations, and hereby expresses his most sincere thanks.
It is hoped that the reader will learn many things from these original articles, as well as from the selected ones, in relation to the laws of health and life, especially in their application to advanced years; and that they will meet many practical suggestions which will help them to joyfully finish up the work of their life, so that the later periods of life may prove to be their best and brightest ones, and they at last “come to their graves in a full age, as a shock of corn cometh in his season."
“Fifty Years and Beyond.” Fifty years is life's meridian. Then cometh AGE, OLD AGE, DEATH, and the GREAT BEYOND. The Author employs his title as embracing all these periods and events, and the reader will find much in relation to each of them.
It is the Author's most earnest desire, and devout prayer, that all the readers of this book may have a joyful experience of the Divine presence and blessing in their AGE, Old Age, and Dying, and then passing to the GREAT Beyond may receive the glorious inheritance embraced in the “Certainties," and in the “Possibilities” of the redeemed soul in heaven.
“A solemn murmur in the soul
Tells of the world to be,-
Before they reach the sea."
Aging and dying are but courses of Nature. Physical
AGING maturity and decline may be as gentle and sweet and grateful as the sequence of blossom and fruit and harvest. The world is but a womb whence we are born into a perfect realm whose life and immortality were brought to light by Him who vanquished Death. We do not rest in the fainiliar argument that universal human longing for future being “proves” that such a future awaits all men. We prefer to believe that that longing establishes simply a presumption that man may live again. The Christian has better proof. The man who has been quickened into the new spiritual life, which is the heritage of every obedient soul, has a downright, unshakable consciousness that divinely prepared mansions await him above. Having this hope, we purify ourselves, and the purification includes that clear vision which rewarded Moses, and plants a glad mountain of transfiguration beneath the feet of every loyal pilgrim.
The skeptic, who professionally attacks this correct Christian philosophy, is a ruthless warrior against man, and society. Rapine, murder, incendiarism, slander, and prostitution of childhood are not more pitiless. Rationalistic death is a failure more downright only than rationalistic life. The man who believes he happened into being, must stagger and happen along through physical maturity, must exist on moral food unguarded by even the example of the monkeys, which are said by their habits to suggest to travelers what are and what are not poisonous foods--and then “to die and be forgot,” like a song-bird or a beast, lacks motive for this world and light upon the next. Tom Hood asks for another, we trust, and not for himself,
when he says,
“What can an old man do but die?"
If there is on record no answer from above and beyond, what need a young man do better than die and have done with the perplexing problem and the unremunerative investment? Little wonder that in countries uncheered by intelligent Christianity or unrestrained by prohibitive Roman Catholicism, suicide is a habit and a joyful release. Europe, by its history of self-murder, is logical and suggestive. A corresponding history is being interwoven into our American life in proportion as these foreign rationalistic tendencies are being imported. In heathen lands the aged are classed with, and follow to neglect and death, worthless female children. Christ's gospel exalts the value of all sexes and ages. Christian homes welcome the girl babies as the future organizers of orderly households, and hoary heads are honored, as crowns are guarded for the sake of their jewels. The philosophy of a godless death is the basis of a Christless view of life.
Books, like the one to which these appreciative lines are an introduction, are some of the fruits of Christian civilization. A loyal life postpones death and delays the