Reverence for Age

        The wise man said, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." On page 107 of this issue of the Sentinel is a most interesting account of the crowning of an aged woman, Mrs. Mary Ramsey Lemons Wood, as queen of the State of Oregon, an event which was also mentioned in a recently published letter to our Leader. From the article and the letter we learn that Mrs. Wood has reached the age of one hundred and twenty years and that she is in good health. On page 104 of the present issue there is also an article entitled "Octogenarians," which tells of the good health and business activity of a number of men in the city of Stockton, California, all of whom are between eighty and ninety years of age.

         It is interesting to remember in this connection the word spoken to Noah, that just and perfect man who walked and talked with God both before and after the flood. We read that God said to him, "My spirit shall not always strive with man . . . yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." The sacred record tells us that "the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years," but after that time the span of mortal existence seemed to grow shorter and shorter, although we are told that Moses, the great Hebrew lawgiver, lived and labored for the moral advancement of the race till he was one hundred and twenty years of age, while the impress of his thought has reached all mankind and is still influencing the world for good.

         Moses gave to the world the Decalogue, the first four commandments of which relate to the service of God. The six which follow relate to our duty to our fellow-beings, and the first of these is too little remembered or understood. It says, "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." In referring to the keeping of the commandments, the wise man says, "For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." It was therefore considered fitting to reverence the aged, those "of riper years and larger lessons," to quote our dear Leader's words, (Science and Health, p. 248). The Hebrews were wise enough to see that their national welfare depended upon their acceptance of the spiritual lessons which they received from the prophets, most of whom were men of long experience and rare insight and foresight; men who had proved for themselves the uncertainty of material things and who were reaching out for eternal realities.

        At the present time we are learning in Christian Science to value above all else the understanding of the real, the enduring, and at the same time to appreciate as never before the faithfulness to a high ideal, which is proved by a long life of service to humanity. It is not always remembered that every human being is tested by every possible experience as the years go by, and those who stand these tests worthily, who remain loyal to right whatever the cost, these surely should have the love and reverence which blesses alike the one who gives and the one who receives.

        Our revered Leader, who herself wears nobly the crown of a long and useful life, has said that the recognition of being as "holiness, harmony, immortality . . . will uplift the moral and physical standard of mortals, will increase longevity, will purify and elevate character" (Science and Health, p. 492). The proofs that the truth is doing all this are too numerous to be disputed. A long, useful, and progressive life must have a lofty motive. It should therefore be accorded the honor which is its due. Tennyson sagely says,

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before.


"Reverence for Age" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, October 12, 1907

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