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In the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes, the preacher admonishes us to dedicate our youthful days to the service of our Creator, considering the evil days which are coming upon us, when all the faculties of our minds and bodies shall fail us under the infirmities of age. For then, as the preacher beautifully


represents it to us, as in a glass or mirror, the sun, and the moon, and the stars are darkened; the superior powers which rule in the body of man, as the heavenly luminaries do in the world-the understanding and reason, the imagination and the memory, are obscured as when the clouds interpose between us and the lights of the firmament. In the earlier season of life, the clouds of affliction having poured down their rain, they pass away, and sun-shine succeeds; but now the clouds return after the rain; old age itself is a continual sorrow, and there is no longer any hope of fair weather. The keepers of the house, the arms and hands which are made to guard and defend the body, begin to shake and tremble; and the strong men, the shoulders, where the strength of the body is placed, and which were once able to bear every weight, begin to stoop and bow themselves; and the grinders, the teeth, begin to fall away and cease to do their work, because they are few. Also those that look out of the windows are darkened; the eyes, those windows of the body, through which we look at all things abroad as we look out from the windows of a house, become dim; and he that uses them is as one who looketh out of a window in the night. Then the doors are shut in the streets; difficulties and obstructions attend all the passages of the body, and digestion becomes weak when the grinding is low. The youthful and healthy sleep sound, and are apt to transgress by taking too much rest; but the aged sleep with difficulty, and rise up at the voice of the bird; they are ready to leave their disturbed rest at the crowing of the cock. The daughters of music are brought low; the voice fails and becomes hoarse; the hearing is dull; and the spirits, now less active than they used to be, are less affected by the powers of harmony; and so sit in heaviness, hanging down their heads, as virgins drooping under the sorrow of captivity. Old age, being inactive and helpless, becomes afraid of that which is high; it is fearful of climbing, because it is in danger of falling; and being unfit to endure the hardness of fatigue, and the shocks of a rough journey, the fears which are in the way discourage it from setting out. Then the almond tree flourishes; the hair of the head becomes white, as the early almond blossoms in the hard weather of the winter, before the snows have left us. And even the grasshopper becomes a burden; the legs once light and nimble

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